In week six, we explored the need as teachers to be digitally fluent as well as working with students to develop their fluency. There is an expectation that primary students will have developed a certain competency and fluency in some technologies such as word processing, spreadsheets, web searching skills, animation, podcasting, presentation software, blogging, social networks, publishing movie making and web design (Howell, 2014) by the time they move onto high school.
Working with Scratch was a challenge in that the prompts were complicated to manipulate and sequence in order to have the Sprite move around. Here is my attempt at using Scratch. I later gave some brief instructions to a year 4 student and prompted them to design an animation and this is what they came up with, although the student spent slightly more time on the program than I did. I believe this program would be suitable from perhaps year 3 onwards as a basic introduction to programming, where students are fluent readers, familiar with sequencing as well as certain mathematical concepts, but perhaps too complex prior to year 3 for these same reasons. Some of my peers designed mathematics games and mazes using Scratch which would be great for the younger groups but only as users of the design as opposed to actual designers.
According to 123ICT Limited (2011), Here are some of the learning skills they believe Scratch can be used for:
1. Information and Media Literacy Skills
2. Communication Skills
3. Critical Thinking and Systems Thinking
4. Problem Identification, Formulation & Solution
5. Creativity and Intellectual Curiosity
6. Interpersonal and Collaborative Skills
8. Accountability and Adaptability
9. Social Responsibility
I’m not sure that I can see how all of these learning skills are developed with Scratch, but certainly from a creativity and critical thinking perspective, can see students extending their visual designing skills and sequencing ability. It is necessary to understand the concept of one idea or direction happening before another can happen, certainly when developing story writing skills or working on number patterns this is very apparent.
123ICT. (2011). Using Scratch in the Primary Classroom. Retrieved from http://www.123ict.co.uk/using-scratch-primary-classroom/
Betchablog. (2010). Teaching kids to think using Scratch. Retrieved from http://chrisbetcher.com/2010/10/teaching-kids-to-think-using-scratch/
Howell, J. (2014). Teaching with ICT: digital pedagogies for collaboration & creativity. Melbourne, VIC. Oxford University Press.