Scratch is a free programming language and online community where you can create your own interactive stories, games, and animations. Scratch is a block-based visual programming language and online community targeted primarily at children. Users of the site can create online projects using a block-like interface. The service is developed by the MIT Media Lab, has been translated into 70+ languages, and is used in most parts of the world.

The Scratch interface has three main sections: a stage area, blocks palette, and a coding area to place and arrange the blocks into runnable scripts. Users may also create their own code blocks and they will appear in “My Blocks”.

The stage area features the results (i.e., animations, turtle graphics, etc., either in a small or normal size, with a full-screen option also available) and all sprites thumbnails being listed in the bottom area. The stage uses x and y coordinates, with 0,0 being the stage center.

With a sprite selected at the bottom of the staging area, blocks of commands can be applied to it by dragging them from the blocks palette into the coding area. The Costumes tab allows users can change the look of the sprite in order to create various effects, including animation. The Sounds tab allows attaching sounds and music to a sprite.

Scratch can be used to control creations wade with Lego Mindstorms and Lego WeDo to control motors and receive sensor data.

Author: Piers Midwinter
Piers Midwinter is a Qualified Teacher, Native English Speaker, ex-Company director, and ex-University lecturer. He lives and works in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam
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