Using Scratch and other things Week four – INDT 501

First off, let me say, nothing against MIT, but I am not a fan of Scratch. I think the software is a bit complicated and to create anything with substance requires multiple hours of tinkering. I don’t think the program is as straight-forward as it could be, especially when trying to do things like change the background, which I still did not figure out. I don’t see how a teacher could implement this program in his/her classroom without having extensive knowledge of the program first and dedicating a lot of time to creating an animation about the water cycle or scientific process. Teachers are already strapped for time in and outside the classroom, so while Scratch is a cool program, I don’t think it should be a on-the-fly lesson tool or a main-way of presenting lessons. Teachers can easily find all sorts of videos on Youtube or Teachertube that can serve, if not better serve the same purpose as Scratch as an instruction tool. Also, if teachers were to ask students to create a Scratch program, I think they would run into a lot of problems like lots library time to create the Scratch, having to navigate students step-by-step through the process (it is not a software where students can simply “have-at-it”), and if students were to work on their programs at home, do they have Internet ability and do they have space on their computer for the program? These are just some of my thoughts about the software’s application in the classroom.

When I was creating my Scratch, I had some issues understanding how the sprites moved. It took me a while to realize that “go to x:   y:   ” was different from “glide for    secs to x:   y:    ” and that they had different appearances in the program I created. Another problem I had was that I could not figure out how to change to background. Also, I tried to change the color of my Sprites, but you could only change their color based on a number and I did not see a chart for colors to match up to numbers. Thus, my program is in black and white. When I designed the program, I really didn’t know what kind of possibilities I had. I think trying to draw detailed pictures could be an issue because you are limited to a simplistic paint program, but if I could get to a point where I could make game like the fruit store example loaded in the program, it would be pretty cool. So, when I first started designing, I was becoming aquainted with the software. I learned what I needed to build my program after trial and error. For instance, I added caption bubbles, but they all came out at once. I had to fix the problem by adding in pauses that lasted a specific amount of time.

I did not do any research for my program because I feel that if a software requires research and extensive tutorials, then it is probably not worth the hassle to use it. My computer was acting slow from all the software I have had to download for this class, so  I opted to read through a PDF tutorial from the Scratch website. I thought the tutorial was helpful and it gave me the tools I needed to get started, but nothing advanced.

My take-away from this assignment is that it can be useful in the classroom, but would require time and effort from students and teachers alike. Depending on the class, this kind of software would not be used for student projects if the class was a semester based SOL class because there is too much content to get through and not enough time. This software could be used for projects in year-long classes with proper support. As a teacher, I would use this software to differentiate learning in some instances for instruction. If I were teaching a year-long class,  I would try to use as a project for a particular unit that does not have much information available for it on the Internet.

Without further adieu, here is my Scratch program:

http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/ctrumbetic/3089930

Also, I learned about a ton of other stuff this week that I could use in the classroom. I really liked the custome search engine. With aspirations to become a high social studies teacher, I think the search engine could help with certain projects that need credible information or very specific information, especially if the assignment is looking for original research. I’m not a huge technology person and the last thing I like to do when I have free time is surf the web so I am not sure if I would make use of the Technorati.com website, but I can see it’s advantages for keeping up with the times. I thought the website provided for editing images was phenomenal and I would gladly share it with my students. They could  possibly use it for an assignment that asks them to make a collage or distort a dictator’s image to show what he looked like on the “inside” or add characteristics of an event on a picture of the event. I’m still not sure how my PLN is supposed to work because I have not been officially accepted, I only registered. This week has been very enlightening learning about the different tools on the Internet that can enhance instruction.

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2 Responses to Using Scratch and other things Week four – INDT 501

  1. nkelley88 says:

    I agree with you that this program was not easy to work with. I also don’t think it is straight forward enough, nor do I think it would be useful in the classroom. It seems like you and I had a lot of the same issues but you worked harder on yours that I did on mine. I got so frustrated I just kinda gave up, to be honest! I’m glad I wasn’t the only one having difficulties 🙂

  2. jdosch says:

    I agree with you that scratch probably would not be a good “on-the-fly” lesson tool or main-way of presenting a lesson plan. In order for this to be an “on-the-fly” tool it would need to have a more user friendly and intuitive interface. I found it frustrating that I had to keep switching from one group of building blocks to another to make my sprites move and talk. I feel it would have been easier to work on code for more than one sprite at a time, especially when trying to sync a conversation between the two.

    As for presenting a lesson plan, I feel that it would be incredibly time consuming to even create something substantial that would “speak” to most students. Even my 6 year old daughter thought the cartoon I made with scratch was juvenile, so I could only imagine what secondary students would think of it.