As a parent of three technically savvy kids I find it disturbing that we haven’t even “scratched” the surface of Scratch, an amazing, object-oriented programming language from the MIT Media Lab’sLifelong Kindergarten Group. That may change, however, as it’s much easier to get started in Scratch thanks to a new release of the platform that lives entirely in the browser.
You can try the programming language here and the new version allows for webcam interaction with the on-screen sprites and you can now add vector-based graphics that will scale without losing resolution. You can also create your own programming “blocks” and add new logic to your programs or games.
The new interface is similar to the old, desktop-based system except it’s a bit simpler and you can store your programs on your computer and then upload them anywhere. A “backpack” will hold objects from one project to the next so you can bring sprites and backgrounds with you to new games. Everything runs smoothly right in the browser. You can see a Scratch-generated tour of 2.0 here or you can just start playing.
The platform is great for kids of all ages and it’s a far sight better than most early computer education which consists mostly of typing tutorials and Microsoft Office lessons. If you’re looking for a STEM star and not a cubicle drone, this is the platform for you.