- Collaboration is key. Don’t do anything in isolation, because you don’t have limitless resources.
- Don’t overthink it. Just dive in, start small, and build from there. It doesn’t take a lot. Three or four computers and an instructor are all you need to get started.
- Make sure you’re connecting with the needs of the community. Anticipate needs , even if community members don’t yet know what those are.
- Go for it. Most libraries underestimate the demand their communities have for technology training. It’s a great service, and it adds value to the library’s role within the community.
- Develop an instructional outline
- Construct curriculum
– concepts: introducing scratch, scratch account, sprites, sequential logic
– projects: basic cartoon, basic animation, maze game
– Day 2:
– concepts: conditionals, pen blocks, keyboard interactions, basic looping
– project: basic drawing, looping drawing
– Day 3:
– concepts: looping, variables, parallel threads, operators, basic custom blocks
– projects: basic math game, collection game
– Day 4:
– concepts: variables, lists, custom blocks, advanced operators
– projects: word game, advanced math game
- Additional logistics
This tutorial video could benefit from some editing, but despite its somewhat scattered presentation, it contains a lot of valuable material. Most helpful to me was the tip that you can copy/paste a block of code from one sprite to another by dragging it from the working area of the first sprite onto the image of the second sprite. Aside from that, the video steps through the process of creating a menu screen and a ‘play’ button in Scratch by utilizing the broadcast blocks and ‘when this sprite is clicked’ block. It shows how to hide and show different sprites and how to change the background when ‘play’ is clicked.
Blank Editor. (2013, September 2). Maze – invent with Scratch 2.0 screencast [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YXwcx0rSlY
This resource is a step-by-step tutorial video explaining how to create a maze game using Scratch. I chose this video because I found it was a concise, yet informative introduction to many elements of game-making with Scratch. It shows how to edit the sprites, add new background images, and have the sprite interact with the background. The logic required for this game is fairly simple, so even if the user is unfamiliar with programming, they should still be able to construct a maze game by following along with this video.
Lewis, Colleen. (2013, July 25). Broadcast: programming in Scratch 2.0 [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnYbOCiudyc
This resource is a practical explanation of how to use the broadcast function in Scratch to animate a conversation. I chose this video because I found it to be very helpful in creating my cartoon for the assignment this week. Understanding how to use broadcast is essential when doing animation work with Scratch. Especially useful was the side-by-side look at the ‘broadcast message’ / ‘receive message’ blocks while concepts were being explained.
Paget Teaches…. (2014, February 21). Using the clone blocks in Scratch [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHrkUsrv9p4
This tutorial video covers the basics of using clones in Scratch. When I was thinking about how I was going to code my collectables project, I came across the idea of clones. This video talks mostly about using clones as a substitute for coding many identical sprites with very similar behavior. Clones allow your program to do the same thing, but much more efficiently. I ended up using clones differently than he does here, but I still found this information valuable and would like to share it.
Radhafille [Screen name]. (2013, September 8). Make a block – Scratch 2.0 [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ert5PtU6Zjk
This video is a very helpful step-by-step walkthrough of how to create a custom block in Scratch. It includes answering the basic ‘why bother with custom blocks’ questions by showing how custom blocks can actually make your code easier to understand and easier to modify. At the 6 minute mark she jumps to a demonstration of a specific Scratch plug-in (called LeapScratch), but the first 6 minutes have great info about custom blocks.
Schafer, Ben. (2016, May 28). Unit 6, lesson 2, how to create functions in Scratch [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqyukTJB8-c
This video is a great introduction to using functions in Scratch. He uses a very simple example of drawing a half-circle to explain the advantages of programming with functions, aka a piece of code you can call over and over again. Although it can seem like more work up front to create functions, but the payoff comes later because changes and troubleshooting your program are going to be much easier.
SchoolPlusScratch. (2013, March 14). Scratch 2.0 – more blocks tutorial [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jM2SIDKM0Q
This video goes through the process of how to send variables to a function using the example of making a sprite jump to different heights, depending on the button pressed. The speaker has a slight accent, so if English is not the viewer’s native language, it might be a little harder to understand the commentary, but every step is clearly outlined in the screencast, so it should be possible to follow along.
Skeletons888. (2014, March 15). Scratch tutorial – making a home screen [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cL6UUPdeTw0
The tutorial in this video starts about 30 seconds in, so be sure to skip ahead if you are in a hurry. Also the user in this video is programming with an older version of Scratch, so some things may look a little different. I included it here because it clearly shows how to switch backgrounds when clicking a button (aka a sprite). In this older version, the block that is used is called ‘When <sprite name> is clicked’ and in the current version the block is now called ‘When this sprite is clicked’, but the idea is still the same. It also shows how to hide menu buttons during game play and how to introduce sprites after the menu screen.
TheLogFather [Screen name]. (2014, April 22). Removing ask-and-wait [Scratch project]. Retrieved from https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/21056899/
When I was first putting my project together, I was frustrated that there seemed to be no way to get rid of the ask box (the blue bar across the bottom of the screen) without quitting the program. Obviously if the user enters input, then the ask box will go away, but sometimes you might want to remove it (or give the player the option to remove it) without entering information. This project shows how you can ‘hack’ the timer feature in Scratch to remove a lingering ask box. It’s a pretty neat trick that I didn’t actually end up needing this week, but I thought it was worth sharing anyway.
York, Ryan. (2014, March 30). Broadcasting in Scratch [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6v1OFTKaTGc
This resource demonstrates another aspect of the broadcast function — cause and effect relationships between different sprites. It uses a simple example to show how utilizing ‘broadcast message’ / ‘receive message’ is the most common way to facilitate communication between sprites. This video was also helpful in that it mentions the importance of defining a starting position for sprites that move throughout the course of the animation.