I recently attended a session on Raspberry Pi in Waltham library. One of the link that was demonstrated had an educational programming software called Scratch developed by MIT. This project already had more than 2 million users and 4 million programs uploaded on their site. Most popular among 12 and 13 year old kids. Interface looked damn easy and intuitive. I decided that its the right tool for Rishab to learn.
I installed it and tried a simple animation myself quickly with the help of YouTube video. Demonstrated it to Rishab and asked him to do a few steps, he was excited to see that he could make the cat say his name and do lots of fun stuff very easily.
After 2 days, I gave him an assignment, he watched the video back and forth, step by step and ended up creating the following program that simply spins a sprite(character)
Spin sprite – First program by Rishab. Click to play animation in MIT site
It was very tricky for Rishab to create multiple images. Specially dragging, making those small circles and cutting in half to make ears etc. It took him more than an hour to create this animation all from scratch using Scratch. Finally when it was ready, we uploaded it to MIT’s site.
Where do we go next after learning this basic programming? Well Scratch is already interfaced with a few hardware tools to make interesting projects. Play-i (a crowd sourced project) is coming up with a robot kit that can be controlled with Scratch program using bluetooth 4.0. I am sure there are more out there and will show up as we explore more of such technologies.
This exercise of teaching Rishab his first programming language, brought back the excitement that I had when I was learning Basic language and the high I use to get creating those random lines and blimp programs. Where as everyone else was just focused on writing those palindrome, prime number related programs.
After reading this, if you happen to install and use Scratch, please leave a comment here or on Rishab’s page on MIT site. We would be glad to link to your page and see what others are developing.