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Scratch - OWAU discussion 10/28

Aloha kākou,

I while back, I learned about this product from a presentation at the eSchool conference. The speaker was so excited about Scratch and was having so much fun demonstrating it that my mind began racing immediately. "I could use it in `Ike Hawai`i courses and I bet I could use it to develop tons of activities for the A`o Makua `ōlelo Hawai`i courses". Then, reality set in as I returned to work intending to try it out after I finished my "next" task. Well, you know how that goes. 7 months later, I finally took a stab at it out of necessity of course. I really wanted some type of activity to teach my students about different Kapu in old Hawai`i without having them just read a list of them.

So, what it Sratch? Simply put, it's a developer's tool (a very inexpereinced developer like myself). It allows you to create activities and games using "coding" that is in a drag and drop format. The codes are pre-written & range from phrases like "when __(space bar, "a" key, etc.)___ clicked" to "play sound __(meow, bark, record your own, etc.) until done".

You basically click & drag the script onto your "work area" and arange them to suit your needs. While the "click and drag" format is self-explanatory, it did take me awhile & lots of playing around to use the scripts to get the object to do what I wanted it to. Mostly because I've had no experience scripting or coding (other than Hawaiian fonts) prior to this.

The tool is set up so that you post your creation & share it with other Scratch users. Once you share your activity on the web site, other users can download it & look at your scripting. Which I found very useful. However, there are ways that you can publish your activity to your own web page. Which I did, because I didn't want people to down load my activity & use the copyrighted clip art that I had incorporated.

Here's the link to the Scratch web site so that you can check it out.
And, here's the link to the Scratch activity that I created. Any suggestions are welcome. Mahalo, Kelly.


Liko said…
Fascinating exercise. I can see the possibilities for language use as well, but if the diacriticals do not show appropriately, well, boo. I still plan on investigating further.

Mahalo for sharing. Where did you get the copyrighted icons/clipart by the way? Great stuff!

FYI, the small window (the exercise) did not open in Safari 3.1.2 but worked well in Firefox 2.0 on a Mac.
Dorothy said…
Aloha e Kelly,

Mahalo for sharing SCRACTH with us. Although I don't have time to dive into test out SCRATCH at this point in time, I had fun going through your "Kapu in Old Hawai'i" activity. I can see how it could be very useful for both our 'Ike Hawai'i and A'o Makua programs. I'm sure our CBOCE teacher participants would also find your activity as well as SCRATCH a possible tool they'd be interested in exploring.

Since you've explored quite a few game development tools, including Rapivity, StudyMate, etc., are there particular benefits and drawbacks to SCRATCH? I know you mentioned it took you some time to get used to the coding. Did it provide more flexibility than Raptivity?

Similar to Liko's comment, it's too bad the diacriticals don't show properly.
Kelly D. said…
Aloha from Arizona!
Mahalo Kelly for sharing that one. These type of interactive games would also be a great resource paired with our audio PowerPoint Presentations. It also addresses those diverse learners who need to do more than just see and listen to really understand new content and it promotes critical thinking. I'm seeing a lot of these types of tools/resources here at the conference as well. One of the "hot topics" at the conference is also assessment; especially of the quality of online curriculum. Schools are now being required to show proof of what they are doing to engage learners, address multiple intelligences and provide guided practice activities. Finding reasonably easy to use tools to develop activities that help meet these criteria and integrating in to our curriculum is definitely something we should continue to pursue.
See you all soon,
Christy said…
I got a sneak peak at this exercise before this and had fun trying to see how much I knew. Like everyone else I can see the practical uses of this tool and I think it's great we have one more thing in our repertoire to bring out as the need fits. I think the question Dorothy poses is a good one, how do the tools we have compare to each other. I'm sure there are advantages and disadvantages to each, cool things in one that you can't do in another, etc. It would be interesting to talk about those.

I appreciate you venturing out and trying new things to bring another dimension to your course. I can't wait to see what you come up with next.
Anonymous said…
Liko - Yes, I know the lack of diacritiacal markings are a bummer. There actually may be a way to do it but, I haven't been able to figure it out. There's so much to explore with this tool that I don't know what it's limits are yet. :) The copyrighted clipart I used was from Coconut Info. I also used some non-copyrighted art from MS office. Thanks for the heads up on the browsers, very helpful!

Dorothy - Yes! This tool provided much more freedom than Raptivity does but, that can also be a double edged sword. I think that's part of what was taking me so long to figure it out. I ended up going through quite a few examples & FAQ postings to look for the scriping that I needed. I had an idea of what I wanted but couldn't get it to work by just playing around on my own, I had to research. Raptivity & Respondus make it easy for you by providing wizards to help you enter you content. I feel that Respondus is less limiting but, has a smaller variety of "interactivities", while Raptivity has a good variety, it limits the amount of content that you can add. I actually tried to build the kapu activity in Raptivity first. In future development, I will continue to explore Raptivity & Respondus as options first (because of time & ease) and use Scratch when I need something a little more flexible. Thanks for asking. :)
Clinton said…
Mahalo for sharing this development tool. I think this would be useful for students who are new to programming and educators who want more control than a wizard would provide. I wonder how big of a user base they have as even this very simplified programming interface can be very challenging for anything beyond very simple programs. Also, it would be nice for it to output flash files for more broad compatibility.
Komarey said…
Mahalo Kelly for sharing. I downloaded SCRATCH 1.3 and got so involved with playing around with it, I almost forgot to post my blog. I think this is a great tool to create easy interactive elements to our courses. When assessments are in the form of a game, it really engages the learner. As long as students are manipulating what they see on the screen it brings them in and makes the lesson more student "centered". I was really surprised by how easy this tool is to use. What a great contribution. Mahalo!
Brandy said…
I am working on a functions unit in Algebra 2. I can see that I may be able to use this, I will keep you posted.

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