What's all the fuss with Scratch?

Scratch is a visual programming language suitable for children from the age of 8.  It’s very simple to use and it can lead to some very interesting projects.  Last year, I did a project with some 5th and 6th class pupils where they created a cartoon.  The learning involved was amazing: planning, storyboarding, storytelling, art, design and sequencing were just some of the many skills that were needed.  The children were so addicted to programming that one parent complained to me that she couldn’t get on the computer at home as her daughter was so engrossed.
I was delighted to see on the CESI mailing list that a number of training courses are going to be offered to teachers around the country in how to use Scratch.  The following information is courtesy of Pat Seaver from CESI and I’m posting it here to spread the word.  I completely recommend you get to any of the venues and sign up quickly.
These courses are funded by the NCTE and are a joint collaboration between LERO, the Irish Software Engineering Research Centre, and CESI.  The courses will be tutored mainly by teacher practitioners and are open to both primary and post-primary teachers.  Taking place over two Saturdays: October 1st and October 15th.    The first Saturday will be devoted to getting you up and running; the second will be “show and tell”, troubleshooting and a workshop on setting up local support for each other.
There are seven venues around the country.  Seaver suggests that teachers consider buddying up with another teacher in your school for these courses as it may be good to collaborate and pass your learning on to the rest of your staff.
Below is a list of venues.

  • Limerick  061-312360
  • Dublin West  01-4528000
  • Tralee  066-7195000
  • Cork  021-4255600
  • Carrick-on-Shannon  071-9620383
  • Sligo  071-9138700
  • Waterford  051-311000

Note: We have written loads of articles about how to use Scratch including lots of step-by-step lessons. Check them out here!

0 thoughts on “What's all the fuss with Scratch?”

    • Hi Sean, thanks for the comment. There are a number of workshops for teachers coming on stream but I think it will take a lot of encouragement to get teachers on board with programming. We got them using computers eventually so maybe we’ll get them into programming. Already part of a module in one teacher training college that I know of.

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