Scratch Day Is May 17!
Did you miss Hour of Code and want to try your hand at coding?
Are you a programmer at any level who wants to get involved in a community of programmers?
Then Scratch Day is for you!
What Is Scratch Day?
We’re glad you asked! Scratch Day is a group of informal events connected by a few characteristics: It’s about the Scratch programming language, it’s a gathering of people, and it’s fun! Scratch Day events are where people come together to learn about Scratch, work on projects, and share experiences.
Events can be for beginners or for more advanced Scratchers to share their projects. Events can be at locations with computers available (such as libraries or university computer labs), or at locations where most or all participants bring their own computers. Most events bring together from 10 to 30 participants, although some (like the longest-running one at MIT in Boston) include hundreds of participants!
Scratch Day started in 2009, and has never before been done in Maine.
What Is Scratch?
Scratch is a visual programming language that makes it easy to create their own interactive stories, games, animations, and simulations.
Projects are created by snapping together blocks, eliminating one of the problems getting started with some other languages: those pesky semicolons and other syntax.
Projects can then be shared with an active online community consisting of hundreds of thousands of registered members. These projects can then be remixed, modified, and re-shared. Scratchers learn from each other!
In the process of designing and programming Scratch projects, young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively. Designed primarily for youth ages 8-16, Scratch is great for everyone, including very young children with an adult to help, and adults who enjoy creative and fun things! Scratch is a project of the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab. It is available for free at http://scratch.mit.edu. Did you know Scratch is included on the MLTI laptop devices?
Although the original Scratch is not yet available for iPads or phones, an extended implementation called SNAP! is available, and could be used for Scratch Day events for those who do not have laptops or desktops available.
Why Would I Do This?
Programming is important for everyone, and getting started can be intimidating. Scratch makes it easier, because the drag-and-drop interface and visual structure help with many of the elements of programming that can be most difficult. Anyone can create a simple project in minutes. Yet Scratch offers enough tools to build very interesting and useful projects that do a wide variety of things, and the Scratch Community allows you to share projects and learn from others.
Maine already has a strong contingent of Scratch programmers in the online community. Some teachers implement Scratch in their classrooms. Scratch Day gives Scratch programmers a chance to gather in person and strengthen the Maine Scratch programming community. And we want to give beginners a fun and supported way to get started.
And did we mention it’s fun?
We’re celebrating Scratch Day Saturday, May 17!
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