Starting With Scratch

ScratchScratch is: A free programming tool that allows anyone to create their own animated stories, video games and interactive artworks. The BBC’s article is the source of the quote, and also of some of the current overload of the Scratch site at MIT.

There’s also an article in today’s Boston Globe. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Globe took the trouble to link from the online article to the Scratch site.

My initial reactions are:

  • The temporary download page was holding up pretty well while the main site was struggling.
  • It was fun and easy to get started with Scratch. You write scripts by dragging blocks, rather than by typing code.
  • I think that it would be fun and easy for many people, particularly the young. Scratch is indeed aimed to a large extent at kids.
  • It’ll be even more fun when the web site recovers from the onslaught, since the site encourages Scratchers to upload and share scripts.

On a slightly more deliberate note:

  • The underlying programming language is Ruby, which raises the possibility of Scratch acquiring a nickname such as Light Rails.
  • I’m not sure how “free” Scratch is. On the About page of the download, MIT asserts copyright. I’ll look around for signs of “free as in freedom” when the site comes back up.
  • I should get on with other things now, and so will postpone further scratching and blogging until this evening.
  • Hence I won’t take the time to link to stuff related to Scratch, such as laptop (one per child), lego, and logo.

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