[Week 2 Reflection] Thinking about Coding


I’ve played around with Scratch a couple of years back with my kids and found it to be exactly as I have left it. I think it’s good, however, I find it a bit old-fashioned, if that makes sense. I don’t have a background in coding and I hear that to do it the traditional way is quite a headache, but I do feel that Scratch can use a face-lift and update it’s user interface so that it’s more current and relevant. I personally did not enjoy making the animation. I would suggest having a preview of the actions that you are selecting. I also had trouble deleting parts of a group of actions as it would just delete the whole group.


Hello Robin,
@breenworks @Robin_Ricketts thanks for joining the conversation with your question. I take it that you have seen me on the short video in an Irish primary classroom. To answer you, I have not priced the cost of posting to US. The book has just been released and I have yet to approach Amazon. However if you would like to purchase, please go to my UK web site and I will mail a copy to you at the UK rate. I am interested in printing and distributing a US version, perhaps through an arrangement with MIT Press and the Scratch Foundation. I sent a specimen copy to the Scratch Foundation in September which I tracked to its delivery in Boston but I have not heard anything yet. I shall be watching out should you decide to take up my offer. Seamus


I can’t say that Scratch changed my way of thinking about code, since I didn’t think about code at all until I stumbled upon Scratch some years ago.

Lately, however, I’ve been thinking a lot about code. I’m a linguist and an educational researcher and I can’t help thinking that there are many similarities between learning language and learning code. They are both performative and can both be instrumental in learning other things, and I’ve been spending the last couple of years experimenting with ways to integrate coding into primary school subjects.


Scratch has changed my point of view about coding. I used to think that I couldn’t succeed in coding but now I am more comfinded about it. I still find difficulties when using scratch but I keep trying.


Minha primeira experiência foi com lego. Acredito que vale a pena trabalhar com os alunos com Scratch, visando auxiliar o processo criativo.


Working with Scratch is changing my perspective on coding. I introduced my students to it last week and was amazed by how engrossed they were, how they persisted with something new to them and, now I have tried using it, how much more creative and quick they are with it than am I! Kids surprise you! And when you give them different opportunities which allow them to push themselves and think differently, it is amazing what they can do!


I was happy to discover that Scratch is the same blockbased coding as in Micro:bit, witch I am presently trying to learn how to use. What is great about programming microprosessors is that you can make things happen in the real world, not only on a screen! Here are my notes from a workshop for teachers at the Science Center here in Oslo


Hi Seamus,

I don’t remember if I have responded to your post, but I did notice this as well. It’s a brilliant addition in scratch and Thanks to you for your contribution. Often times when I was trying to explain kids about the grids, I initially asked them to imagine and later on drew on boards to explain the concept before using it in scratch. So the visible grids now make our jobs easy. THANK YOU once again!


true … my projects are just exercises maybe because in class I leave the pupils to design by giving only themes … goodies that share in their accounts … certainly are better than me and i am happy about this … my task is give input and discover some potentialities then they create themselves … even if time is tyrant …thanks


Thinking about Coding - _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?

My experiences with Scratch greatly impacted the way I view coding. It has provided me with a resource in which I can explore and create and really invest in the design process. I was introduced to coding 2 years ago and knew very little. Since then have been lucky to be surrounded and connected to some amazing people who have helped me develop my understanding of coding and how it translates to use inside the classroom. I now view coding as an integral skill to expose children too in the Elementary School setting (ages 4-12).

How do you Facilitate Projects? - Have you helped others learn to create projects? What were the biggest challenges you faced? What strategies have you used to address these challenges? What questions do you have about a project-based approach to learning?

I love taking a simple game we use in the classroom and finding ways to animate it, and bring it to life through Scratch. By doing this, the game becomes accessible anywhere and not just tied school. In helping others get started (mainly students) I have found it helpful to keep the first activity simple and to encourage them to explore past the project. Often students will uncover small tips and tricks that eventually make their work more efficient. This also allows them to teach one another which as we know is a powerful thing in the classroom.

If I were to identify one issue that still persists, it would be with consistency. Currently Scratch and adjoining projects seem to pop in and out throughout the year. I would like to get to the point where the program is embedded in my program, including how I introduce and use material. This is difficult in my current role as an itinerant, but something I will remain mindful of upon my return to the classroom.

Creative Learning Spiral - The Creative Learning Spiral is a way to think about the creative process. How would you describe or draw your own creative learning process?

My process is not likely very different from others. I am a heavy Twitter user so I am constantly seeing new and innovative ideas from educators across the world (on a daily basis). After seeing something that inspires me, I often like to internalize the idea (get my own head around how it all works) and then to think about how it can apply to my students (and others in which I support). Once all this is sorted, I tend to build a base template and look to get it into the hands of students right away. I heavily observe this first run through and ask a lot of questions. After the lesson I look to implement student and teacher feedback in order to improve the idea. Typically by the 4th time through, the project is finally to a point where I am satisfied.


I’ve descoved Scrath only last year. I worked together with a student who attends the school where I work.
The student was very good in coding. I didn’t know what coding was. She realized my idea about a grammar exercise! She animated shapes and words for me! I proposed the exercise to my students during a lesson and they were very satisfied with it!
I’ve animated my name on my own and I think that is possible to do coding studying it as writing or reading. You need motivation and ideas!


Thanks Mohona,
Your response is very encouraging. I hope many teachers find the fine-line vector grids useful. There are over 100 free shared examples under the username readysteadycode. They are in the Scratch backdrop library since June 2017 but they have gone unnoticed as they appear irrelevant. Also they only became available in the offline Scratch editor in version 453 or newer. please feel free to share projects using the grids and to mention them to friends and in your social media etc. Seamus O’Neill @ScratchLearning


I agree that learning to code is similar to learning a language - in many ways. There is a vocabulary, a syntax, and there are different kinds of words/commands. If you learn to use these when you are young, it is effortless and easy to string together words/commands to express our thoughts and ideas. If you wait until you are older, it could be more difficult.

We can be playful with both words and programs. We can be ponderous or eloquent. We can use many words/commands to express what might be accomplished in just a few words/commands. What we express can be plain, mysterious, beautiful, and moving. And we can use both to express many different kinds of ideas and concepts.

I think that the idea of allowing children to learn about coding by playing with it is a wonderful concept, but it will not happen that way in most schools. Perhaps at home or in afterschool programs, but not during most school days. It will be taught directly, at least at first. Just as we teach the alphabet, then words, then sentences, then paragraphs, and so on, code can be taught in little bits (see my joke there?) at a time. These bits can be put together like letters or words to express and accomplish bigger projects. After a while, children will have their own ideas of what they want to create and they will have the skills to do it.


Scratch has completely change my opinion about coding. Before Scratch I used to thought that coding is difficult and not useful for me to learn. Now I dream of finding time to learn more about coding. I gain confidence that I can learn another coding language if this will be in use for my teaching process. I know that I have a long way before me but I believe in my abilities…


People (parents, teachers) comment lots of times: “Why make children program games on the computer, when they are already spending so much time in front of the screen and gaming?”

But they ignore the creative aspect of programming and working with Scratch. And also: the ‘de-mystifying’ aspect of it: children can discover they cannot only play their favourite game, but also create their own version of this game, or invent a game themselves!

Today a discussion was started on the Dutch website ‘De Correspondent’ on how (big) companies promote coding in schools, stating for instance that: “the more people can program, the lower the salary of a programmer”.

The article is critical about the lobby by companies like Microsoft, Facebook, Google and Apple… and the author is suspicious of fashion words like ‘digital literacy’ and ‘computational thinking’.

Maybe instead of talking about coding (it’s a tool, not the aim?), we should emphasize more these aspects of creative learning, learning by making, by sharing and: the motivating aspect of this process?


Once we worked (at Maks vzw, Brussels) with a group of 16 year old youngsters, who were in a ‘Time Out’-project (because of behavioural problems in their schools). They were not very much motivated to work on projects, but then we came by and proposed to program games. They didn’t feel like inventing a game and working on it for weeks, but then one of them said: I would like to make a Flappy Bird. And another: could we also make that dinosaur that jumps over plants when you don’t have internet in Google Chrome? So then we made another small game every week (in 3 hours) and they started to make their own versions of it. All of a sudden we saw 7 out of 8 of these youngsters be present every week. They were motivated and enthusiastic about it!
And they finished their projects! (not their strong point either), because: a game only works when you program it all the way.


When I used to code in other computer languages, I always had to worry about syntax. A lot of debugging was about finding a misplaced or missing semi-colon. With Scratch’s block-based coding, it’s easier to concentrate on what you’re trying to get the program to do rather than on the syntax of how to write the code. Scratch is useful for getting ideas down quickly.

My son has been using Scratch for longer than I have, but my whole family participates in Hour of Code, so we each get at least a little bit of coding experience each year.

I used to program in BASIC and in C.


very true: to me it’s very important too that Scratch is free and available all over the world, inside and outside school. And also: because you can so easily change the language, you can share your projects with people who talk another language and inspire yourself on their projects…

when a youngster thinks Scratch is too childish, he only wants to play Fifa-games… you can suggest him to type in ‘Fifa’ in the search field of the Scratch website… and he will be surprised by the number of cool football games made by people of his own age!


My students have been using Blockly to program a Dash robot and the coding for Scratch is very similar so I think they’d be able to make the connections. I love how the article from Lifelong Kindergarten compared coding to writing. Scratch coding could be used in so many ways to let kids express themselves. They could make cartoons, short stories with animations, interactive posters. Since I teach grade 2’s I would probably limit them to the first few categories like Sound, Looks, Events, Motion so they don’t get overwhelmed at first.


My experience with coding itself was/is very limited. Apart from this project and a few tries at Lego Wedo 2.0 I have no coding experience.

I have worked with software developers almost my entire career and enjoy the work of creating requirements, thinking about how to develop the flows, etc but coding itself is something I have not enjoyed until now. I am hoping I can continue to learn a little more about this world after completing this task/project.