[Week 2 Reflection] Thinking about Coding


#1

Has your experience with Scratch changed the way you think about coding?
How did you think of coding before? How do you think of it now?

Share your thoughts and discuss with others!

This post is also available in Italiano, Português, Español (Spanish), 日本語 (Japanese), עברית (Hebrew)


Thinking about coding
#2

#3

#4

A post was merged into an existing topic: [Riflessione settimana 2] Pensando al Coding


#5

My perspective is from someone working on her graduate degree who is also observing her colleagues work on the “hot skills” that will help them secure employment. With our generation, coding is one of those skills that either come easy to people or can be really challenging. For those who find it challenging, coding is a “necessary evil” that must be learned if one wants to create experiments or analyze data. Growing up as children, there was really no way of knowing that coding would be such a vital skill in the workforce. What I think is nice about Scratch is that it not only emphasizes coding, but also other relevant skills such as language, creative expression, and critical thinking. While coding is the hot skill of today’s industry, how we perceive coding and how much ones needs to know about coding may change ten, twenty years from now.

Scratch is a great example of a platform that makes a scary, high level skill like coding more accessible. Kids, and first time adults, learn some basic ideas of coding and have the opportunity to become more advance with a platform that produces tangible results. It is still going to take me some time to really enjoy coding, but more interaction with Scratch and other programs will certainly help me become more comfortable with coding.


#6

My first experiences with coding were in languages which all had one thing in common…they were typed! (C, Java etc.) Syntax errors, indentation, readability, missing semi colons were all problems many of us in the unit dealt with regularly.

Scratch fixes those issues! It doesn’t need typing (or more specifically, typing without typos for the most part). For this reason, it can engage children who don’t have great typing skills yet or have difficulty spotting syntax errors (common in younger children). It’s also great because it only lets users connect blocks in ‘sensible’ ways, making mistakes less common. It also has lots of other amazing features but I’ll stop there!

It opens up the world of coding to everyone at a much earlier age, or even those (including adults) who feel more comfortable in a ‘safer’ coding environment.

It makes coding less scary and it’s an amazing ‘on ramp’ for people of all ages and abilities to the wonderful world of computer science.

Janelle :slight_smile:


#7

Well, my experience (with Scratch) was pretty miserable. I managed to do most of it, but hated the whole interface and “puzzle” assignment given. I decided after about an hour of struggling with it that it was not worth using.

I’ve done coding a bit before, from some BASIC in the 80’s to HTML (and a smidge of CSS) more recently and the occasional random experimental thing, and I very much dislike it all.

I like having the freedom to use ALL of my resources, and not be forced to use arbitrary options and rules that were artificially generated. If I don’t have a choice, I’ll deal with using code, but I rarely am able to get the outcome I really want. So I generally prefer to go with another medium or five. I’d rather make a video or drawing or book than a website if I have to do coding for the website.

I understand that some people are ok with arbitrary rules and limited options, especially those on the Autism end of the brain design, since they get easily overwhelmed with too much variety and choices and such, so I can see why some folks flourish with this sort of thing.


#8

I was introduced to Scratch a number of years ago, and I honestly don’t remember how I came upon it. However, I recall approaching it with great trepidation as I had never even anticipated that I might be able to write a line of code. The idea of coding seemed completely alien to me and something that was certainly not in the realm of possibility. I have a background in music and English and had been a high school English teacher for 20 years. I had the opportunity to become a teacher of gifted elementary-school-aged children and along with the job came the enlightening experience of learning many new things and old ones that I had forgotten. I had students who were interested in coding, and we took on Scratch together. I can safely say that I’m not an experienced programmer, but I know enough now to point my students in the right direction, give them a positive start, and help them along the way, certainly acknowledging their prowess as they outstrip my abilities!


#9

My first experience was actually with Scratch Jr., and then more recently with Scratch. I have to say that I found Scratch Jr. much easier to navigate and figure out. I’m still pretty overwhelmed by Scratch and all that it can do, but am excited to spend more time with it and learn more about it!

Yes - Scratch has changed the way I think about coding. I used to think coding was something that required years upon years of practice and highly skilled knowledge, and have more recently shifted to thinking that it is code is just a language that can be learned by anyone. That is, of course, a bit of an over simplification in that there are hundreds of programming languages out there and a 5 year old isn’t going to be writing python, but a 5 year old can be creating computer animation using Scratch Jr.

I’m very excited about finding ways in my community to help teach code to children, and especially girls. I want to help demystify what coding is, and help people relate to it, understand it, and become excited about it. I grew up in a generation before computers were household objects, and studying computer science wasn’t an option that I was exposed to or aware of.

It really resonated with me when Mitch spoke about Scratch being similar to Lego blocks in how it works. That is the kind of demystification that code needs!


#10

Scratch is a tool I am using in my computer class for the past couple of years with great success. You can check my account @frontSkalkou and see what projects my students have managed so far.

Scratch is a great tool for more than just learning code, its a tool for creative learning and making real life projects, things that my students can get back home and show to their parents or friends.

Last year I have prepared a CD version of the football game they created that plays over any PC without the need of Scratch being installed. It was something that really got them excited.

This year I am incorporating Scratch over my Robotics class, using mbot robots. I can’t wait to see what my students will come up with this year.


#11

I have been working with scratch the last three years with different groups. (From 5 to 13 years old kids). Each time I use it I learn something new. I teach my students and they teach me too.
I found scratch stimulating, easy and creative. I used it to create stories, animate, games and simulations. Kids learn to think creatively and are able to work collaboratively.
I learnt to code when I went to university, so scratch didn’t change my way of thinking about coding; it just taught me a new language to program and have fun with my kids. A language that kids can understand and program with it easily.


#12

Tive contato com a programação utilizando blocos na Robótica, através da Lego Education. Na PUC Campinas a disciplina Informática Educativa B tem no currículo a linguagem Scratch, com projeto de conclusão. Posteriormente posto o link do meu. Fizemos vários exercícios de Matemática utilizando o Scratch.

No final do ano passado, o professor Daniel Paz Araujo, me convidou para ajudá-lo na tradução da apostila: Computação Criativa, “Developed by the ScratchEd team at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and released under a Creative Commons license”. Convidei dois amigos professores para essa tarefa.

No final inserimos os "Créditos de tradução para o Português Professor responsável: Daniel Paz de Araújo Colaboradores: Janaina Ferreira Coriolano, Rony Deikson Macedo Santana e Sandra dos Santos Elias.

ACESSEM: Link com a postagem:

http://scratched.gse.harvard.edu/discussions/teaching-scratch/learner-workbook-portuguese

Correções feitas na apostila pós-postagem.

http://scratched.gse.harvard.edu/sites/default/files/u41643/creativecomputing20140820_learnerworkbook.pdf

Caso encontrem mais alterações a serem feitas, agradecemos.


#13

I see coding as a thinking tool and creative process. Whenever you want to code something you have to think hard and logically about what you need to do. In Scratch you have to think about the sprites and backgrounds you need and if they will change during the project. When you code these elements you have to think carefully about the blocks you will need to achieve the actions you want. The same with coding in Python and web page coding. The process is very similar. I like that the process is ongoing and you can constantly make changes, add, edit, refine, to get exactly what you want. Sharing your work and collecting feedback is an important part of the creative process. Scratch makes coding fun and highly creative. It appeals to young children and adults on many levels. For young children it is a great outlet for creativity. For adults it is a great way to learn coding and the basic concepts behind it. The Scratch community is a great place to share you work. I love coding because it is fun, but also because you have to work things out for yourself.


#14

I’ve been using Scratch to help my son learn to program and we’ve both enjoyed the process so far. I like that it teaches the fundamentals of programming without getting caught up in syntax and all the things that can get in the way of learning or can cause someone to give up.

Having learned the basics I’m confident it will be easy to transition him to typed languages where it’ll just be a matter of learning syntax. Having those mental models of what’s actually happening regardless of the language is very valuable and the real benefit of learning with visual programming in my opinion.

It’s also gotten me more interested in visual programming languages and what can be done with them in other areas of software.


#15

Good morning from Ireland.

Yes my experience, expectations and understanding of coding changed because I learned about Scratch.

A few years back reading and researching how to be a good support and addition to school education for my own kids, I learned that coding is a new skill that kids need to learn. I knew it would be great for kids but it was not available where we lived. Also, we live on a tight budget, so I thought this will stay inaccessible to us.
Rewind a few years, before I had kids, I was enrolled in a course learning DTP and a need emerged to clean up an old computer. A fellow student, really cool guy, suggested I do it myself. He said it was easy. He was around 60. And it was unusual to see a mature adult who is ready to learn new skills and thirsty for knowledge and sharing it. He was so enthusiastic, it just rubbed off on me! I learned how to install Windows XP and reformat my hard drive etc. But, had I had the financial means, I wouldn’t have bothered, I would have just paid someone to do it for me. And even without finances, had it not been for Cliff, Mr. Enthusiastic and Encouraging, I would still not have tried it.
DID I encounter problems? Oh yes plenty. First time I reinstalled Windows and made a partition I was so proud, only to discover I could not go online. Those were the days of dial-up. I had to install the cable itself! Took me a while to learn about device drivers but I did. All the time thinking, cliff learned how to do this himself and he promised it’s easy, so I kept trying.
So, in a sense my circumstances have been a blessing.

Forward a bit, back to the time I’m a mum, I also learned that there were these coding clubs for kids CoderDojo. And at first I thought they were for other families. A year passed and I read a bit more about coderdojo and I suddenly realised I could just organise the space and get real coders to teach kids. I reached out to the local dojo for advice. I got it. I did not like it but I listened. Carol, who ran the club pointed out how hard it was to recruit volunteers. She suggested I join the existing club. If I taught something my kids would automatically become members and skip the long waiting list. I was very disappointed to see she did not need a Scratch mentor. Again, this forced me to do more research. So I thought I could learn html. And I did. I started teaching it in the dojo. I tried to make it more fun and creative, but it is not easy when you are using notepad and teaching kids. They had no previous experience of Scratch.

Once I got in I realised that this is exactly what I was looking for. I love art and crafts, I love learning and teaching and sharing, and I love computers and technology. And also sustainability.

Then I realised we are all teaching kids these skills but the adults, especially women are left out.
I did learn coding in secondary school, but it was boring typing stuff. This was before graphical interfaces. To draw a line my program had to be told sth like draw from coordinates x, y to x2, y2. Lots of typing and maths. I liked it but I never used it in my life after school. And I have forgotten it. All the hours spent learning for transport, basic, pascal were wasted I thought.
What I learned was order, consequences of choice and loops.

Many adults had no coding in their life at all. They are also facing a changing society, automation and digitalisation. But they have a huge obstacle to conquer: fear of learning e-skills of which coding is an important part. I was inspired by a lovely young coder and a real maker and doer Vicky who started a coding club for women in Dublin, amongst other things. So I stated one in my local town. This is on a little break at the moment but I intend to expand and enhance it from early next year.

Knowing about Scratch and App Inventor and having learned a bit of c# I came to realise that some important coding concepts can be introduced to adults too using Scratch. I have not done it yet but I really think this will work. Scratch has variables and loops and conditionals. All taught in OOP languages. So why waste time on correct syntax and typing to explain it all, when you could achieve that using Scratch.

I absolutely love MIT and all the ideas, inventions and gadgets coming from there!

Just before dropping off my oldest to school I started writing this and briefly explained what I was doing. I thought he’d be impressed that I was taking part in a course taught by the Mitch Resnik. He couldn’t have cared less. But when I said “Lifelong kindergarten” he was really interested. Didn’t have time to go into details as we were heading out but the conclusion was that MIT LIFELONG KINDERGARTEN is the best workplace.

I could not agree more.
Thank you for sharing your skills and knowledge.


#16

Well… I have been coding since 1983 when I first started to work as a Cobol developer…
But I do love Scratch, and I am really enthusiastic of what my son (11 years old) manages to do with it, He picked it up quickly, usually does not code much by himself, but when he starts I cannot make him stop any more!


#17

Hi, I have no experience with Scratch, I started to code as a hobby when I was 14 y.o. I really think is important to give to kids this opportunity to interact with the world which now is so permeated by agents and events managed by programming.


#18

I have been playing with and teaching with Scratch for about five years. Over time my view of how and why to do this has changed. At first I viewed teaching it as teaching a foreign language that was loads of fun to tinker with and provided another way for children to express themselves. But this was done in a way that was completely separate from what the children were doing in their home classrooms. I confess that I hoped I would be giving children a head start on being computer programmers in their adult lives.
But more and more I am trying to bridge the gap between what the students create with Scratch and what they are learning in class. I have started to see Scratch as a valid form of personal expression. This excerpt from the reading from Lifelong Kindergarten really struck a chord with me:

"With Scratch, we focus on projects instead of puzzles. When we introduce kids to Scratch, we encourage them to create their own interactive stories, games, and animations. They start with ideas and turn them into projects that they can share with other people.
Why focus on projects? We see coding as a form of fluency and expression, much like writing. When you learn to write, it’s not enough to learn spelling, grammar, and punctuation. It’s important to learn to tell stories and communicate your ideas. The same is true for coding. Puzzles might be fine for learning the basic grammar and punctuation of coding, but they won’t help you learn to express yourself. Imagine trying to learn to write just by working on crossword puzzles. It could improve your spelling and vocabulary, and it could be fun, but would you become a good writer, able to tell stories and express your ideas fluently? I don’t think so. A project-based approach is the best path to fluency, whether for writing or coding.
Even though most people don’t grow up to become professional journalists or novelists, it’s important for everyone to learn to write. So too with coding—and for similar reasons. Most people won’t grow up to become professional programmers or computer scientists, but learning to code fluently is valuable for everyone. Becoming fluent, whether with writing or coding, helps you to develop your thinking, develop your voice, and develop your identity."

These are thoughts that have been dancing around in my head - Students must first learn some basics of how to use Scratch and then move on to use those basics to create projects that are meaningful to them. In my case, that means using their coding skills to express “stories” about what they are learning.

I truly wish that there was time when they could just PLAY with Scratch. But this has always been pushed to an afterschool acitivity instead of valued as a valid in-school activity. HAs anyone else been successful in providing Scratch work as a time to “play” at school?


#19

I played with Scratch about 8 years ago with my 1st and 2nd graders. They enjoyed it. It was not in the web format that it is now. I had a little harder time finding where things were as I played with it last night, but if I had more time, I’m sure I could have foud my way around the menus.

I picked up on coding again 2 years ago when I started working again as the computer specials class teacher, I have the K-4th graders once a week for 45 minutes. We started with Code.org courses and Hour of Code and they fell in love with coding. They loved being able to create and share their remix of different activites they had mastered. I like that Scratch also lets you see the code and learn from other people’s work. Last night when I was trying to make my letters spin the way I wanted them too, I just looked up someone elses project and found that line of code. We also did Logo programing with BlueBots. They created stories and typed out code to follow the story through the floor mat they built with Google Drawing.

I think coding is a valuable skill becuase of the thinking process that goes into creating or manuvering the objects. We started working in the 3D arena with drawing, and I hope we will see something like Scratch out there that makes the concept a little easier to introduce kids too. Maybe there is something out there already. I’d love to hear about it if there is something out there.


#20

This was my second try at coding. The first was last week, when I joined a workshop for teachers about using Micro:bit. What I like with Micro:bit is that you can program things that do someting in the physical world, like movement or sound. What was a nice discovery was that the block programming system is like Scratch. And this system visualizes the logical components of the code. Makes you think! Literally. Here are my notes on Micro:bit:https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1YRjVpH5lt3NzBVNzU4T0Z6Wms/view?usp=drivesdk