Sharing code around the world with Scratch

One of the best things about Scratch is its generous and collaborative online community. In order to share Scratch projects users have to make them public, which means that every project we make for the pupils we work with at London CLC is also accessible to users all around the world, should they happen to find it, writes Rowan Roberts.

When I create projects I try to include clear instructions, well organised code and sometimes comments, so that anyone who does stumble across the project can engage with it, even without any further explanation from me. Whenever I receive a notification telling me one of my projects has been remixed I’m always thrilled to find that someone has been enjoying my work and am sure to check it out.

Sometimes I find a project that has simply been copied directly. I think this is often either when a child enjoys it and wants to hang on to it or, judging by some of the usernames I’ve seen, when a teacher sees some value in it and perhaps wants to use it with their own pupils. As an educator it’s obviously very satisfying and rewarding to know that other tech enthusiasts consider some of my projects worth nabbing for their own purposes. Some examples of this have been this project which, when you enable your microphone, creates a visual representation of the volume of your voice or this very simple project which, when you click ‘see inside’, allows you to test the various pen colour numbers.

Remixing fun

It gets more interesting, though, when someone remixes a project and tweaks it to suit their own purposes, perhaps making aesthetic adjustments or editing the code. For me, this demonstrates one of the most important characteristics of good code; adaptability. It also shows that the user has applied their evaluation skills to assess what they think they could improve in the project, and then identified exactly how to how about doing so. Dr Chips, for example, used my Beebot simulator project to make his own version in which the Beebot leaves a line as it moves; Mr Carney took the same project and added Google Earth imagery to personalise the backdrop, showing the location of his school.

But my favourite remixes happen when someone finds my project, looks through the notes or comments and manages to complete my planned activity themself. I love the idea of a user being able to understand what I was trying to achieve with the project, and I think it’s also impressive to see a child take the initiative to happen upon a resource like this and independently explore the possibilities it might hold for their own learning and creativity.

Some examples of this include Abdelilah’s response to my Cat and Mouse challenge or Klua’s debugged version of my broken palm tree project. A child called Arthur found my Egyptian hieroglyphs project and used it to spell his name, as did Atmaja – who also used my India animation template to create her own mini documentary about the Taj Mahal. Sometimes children even respond in the comments section, such as Lilytcypher, who was eager to let me know that “I got all of my predictions right!!!!!” when she tested my strawberry patterns geometry project.

Curiosity, confidence and creativity

Noticing this happening this year, in particular, has filled me with joy and optimism. It’s a time when many schools are finding themselves experiencing periods of limited contact with their pupils, and I know this has made it very difficult for teachers to ensure that their pupils are able to access learning. However, sometimes it can be surprising and impressive how much children can achieve when they develop an approach to home learning that is led by curiosity, coupled with the confidence to find creative solutions independently. 

While technological solutions are rightly central to much of the planning and preparation for periods of remote or blended learning, the learning culture of a school plays an equally important role. As Kate Aktins observed early on in lockdown, fostering independent, confident attitudes to learning is always important, and at times like these the more we can empower pupils to have their own ideas, make their own discoveries and solve their own problems, the richer and more robust their experience of learning can be.

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Upcoming CPD

Introduction to Apple Teacher badges and Creativity with iPads
Introduction to Apple Teacher badges and Creativity with iPads
Get started with Apple Teacher badges and discover how Everyone can Create resources can improve engagement and quality of learning

Get started with Apple Teacher badges and discover how Everyone can Create resources can improve engagement and quality of learning in the classroom, whether in school, remote or blended.

- 17:00
KS1, KS2
Computing subject leaders, Headteachers...
New to subject leadership in primary computing: Session 1
New to subject leadership in primary computing: Session 1

This programme is designed for primary teachers who have recently taken on responsibilities and leadership for technology and computing. It will cover curriculum planning, tools and resources, methods for supporting colleagues and progression and assessment. Colleagues will be expected to attend all three sessions. The third session will be held in a school and will include classroom visits.

Further details for sessions 2 and 3 to follow:

Session 2: 9.30-11.30am Thursday 27 January (virtual)

Session 3: TBC (in person)

- 11:30
KS1, KS2
Computing subject leaders, Headteachers...

Upcoming Special projects

The News Project
- 14:25

Special project in collaboration with First News Education

For a third year, building on two successful previous projects, we are once again partnering with the children’s newspaper First News, fellow member of the national Making Sense of Media and News Literacy networks. This special project with a literacy, PSHE and citizenship, as well as computing focus, highlights our specialist interest in this important aspect of digital and critical literacy.

The News Project will enable participating classes from year 5 to immerse themselves in news and current affairs using First News and the Bett award-winning First News iHUB, which will be provided free of charge during the school-based part of the project over a six week period. Under the guidance of their teacher, pupils will be supported in their development as a community of fully informed news readers. Classes will test their new critical skills and knowledge in the culminating virtual celebration event which will include a news competition and team-based critical literacy and editorial activities. After the event, schools will be able to use the resources from the day in their school.

The project will launch with an introductory CPD session for teachers to set the context, demonstrate resources and to plan for the school-based activities. 

Initial CPD session - Thursday 21st October 4pm-5.00pm. 

Project work undertaken in school - October and November.

Special event - Thursday 25th November 9.30am-2.45pm.

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