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Scratching the Programming Itch

August 5, 2014

In a blog post back in March we mentioned that we had participated in a KickStarter campaign to help fund the development of Scratch Jr., an evolution of the original MIT Scratch project. Last week the iPad version of Scratch Jr. was released to the world via the App Store and Jon has been having fun ever since.

Scratch Jr. is aimed at 5- to 7-year-olds (which perhaps explains its appeal to Jon) and is a lot simpler and easier to use than the original Scratch, which targeted ages 8 to 16. That's not to say that more "mature" folks can't have a lot of fun with it!

We loaded it on our iPad as soon as it was available and have been having a ball with it ever since. We also told our daughter about it and she and our granddaughter and grandson leapt straight into it and are also greatly enjoying the experience.

Rather than try to describe how the programming is done (and make no mistake--the kids are writing programs without even realizing it) we recommend that you visit the website and look at some of the videos and samples--what these tiny "programmers" can achieve is nothing short of amazing.

While very few of the kids who use these tools will grow up to be programmers in the sense that we understand the word, we desperately need more people who can think logically. Tools like Scratch and Scratch Jr. can certainly help achieve this.

Right now Scratch Jr. is only available for the iPad with an Android version in the works. But if you have young children or grandchildren it is worth buying an iPad for them just to see what they can do.

It also occurs to us that many RPGers who have yet to explore programming for Web 2.0 style applications could benefit a lot from some time spent with these tools--and since they are free, there's zero excuse.

Posted August 5, 2014| Permalink

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