Thursday, May 27, 2010

Scratch Day 5 @ SoC

Perhaps it would have been fitting today to do a round of survey and ask the same question as we did on Day 1: "What do you think is a computer program?" We reckon that the answers would be different this time, likely infused with more insight to the thought process of programming. Yet, maybe it is not so immediately apparent. How could we work with a bunch of Scratch blocks and equate that to computer programming? Is Scratching really programming?

Well, yes.

Almost all of the NYGH girls responded by the end of the first day that they have learnt to make animations. We see much of that skill at work today in their amazing project presentations. The storytelling, artwork, entertainment; they are the first things most people see and appreciate but beneath them all, the nuts, bolts and gears - if we may put it that way - that define behaviours on the surface are truly the result of the programmer's mind putting blocks together - yellow control blocks, green conditional blocks, red variable blocks, all those wait, broadcast, set and change instructions.

That is why the Projects, done individually or in groups are truly amazing, because whether knowingly or not, the NYGH folks have been programming. So NYGH folks - you deserve a great big pat on your backs! If anyone is pursuing the field of computing you will find that the concepts of these simple blocks do essentially translate to programming, an activity that is in turn wed to one's thought process.

Some of the projects from Scratch Days are up now at the Scratch Days @ SoC gallery.

We should also congratulate Wan Ting and team Anything comprising Kang Ning, Wan Qing and Yining whose Sprite and Poster respectively won the votes of their schoolmates.

Wan Ting's Sprite

Anything's Poster

We are still deciding on the Best Project, so check back sometime for it. Many of the projects incorporate lessons throughout the week, and many too have drawn inspiration from other projects and reused solutions from a combination of projects. This is good, we always learn not to reinvent the wheel, so the spirit of sharing is also a celebrated one in computing circles. Too altruistic? =) Well, there is not just free beer, but free speech, and in the same spirit of the latter, free (and open source) software.

Anyway, NYGH folks: We hope that you have had a fruitful and fascinating sabbatical (OK, pun intended) and keep Sratching! Or at least, keep the spirit of Scratch burning. Adieu for now.

To readers who have followed us through the week (or who happen to stumble by), and would like to stay current with SoC activities, the NUS SoC Outreach Facebook page has the latest happenings.

- Bimlesh & Juliana


Ai Boon said...

Hi there. I am also a Scratcher in Singapore. Have just stumbled onto your Scratch blog. Thank you for sharing. May I know how old these students are?
Best regards,
Ai Boon

juliana said...

Hi Ai Boon, these are upper secondary students.

Took a peek at your page - you have lots of uploaded projects! What are you doing with them mostly? Education? Leisure?

Ai Boon said...

Hi Juliana,

So who's the winner in the primary schools' Scratch contest?

I am a part-time teacher and I teach Scratch too. The rest of the time, I look after my son and create scratch projects for fun.

Do you know how many secondary schools use Scratch?

Have a nice day and thanks for answering the question.

Best regards,
Ai Boon