What is Scratch and why do you need it to take your first steps in programming?

Have you thought about becoming a programmer but you still don’t know what Scratch is? do you want to know how to make animations in an easy and fun way with Scratch functions?

You may think that programming animations or games is difficult, but, in fact, it can be very simple thanks to the features of Scratch: a program designed to provide tools to all users who request them.

So, if you are interested in animation with Scratch or you want your little ones to discover the world of programming at an early age, this program is ideal for you .

Learning to program easily with Scratch can be a lot of fun and educational, no matter how old you are. In this article we will tell you what it is, why you should use it, what Scratch is for, and why it uses one of the most widely used programming languages.

what is Scratch?

If you already know what a programming language is, it won’t be difficult to understand what Scratch is. In simple words, Scratch is a computer program for children (and not so children) that allows you to learn to program in an easy, attractive and accessible interface.

what can you do with Scratch? You have the possibility to create animations, games, interactive stories, productions and music. Although it is mostly used by children from 8 to 16 years old, it is also ideal for anyone who wants to make their first approach to programming.

On the other hand, the Scratch website has become an online community that allows learning and exchanging ideas with people from all over the world. But who created Scratch? A group of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Another interesting thing you can do with Scratch is to share your creations and ideas with young people who have the same interests as you. In just one day, 1,500 new projects are uploaded to the site with free access code. Anyone who is registered on the site can see how a project has been created, download it, modify it, etc.

Now that you know what Scratch is, the next thing you will want to know are its features, you will see that little by little you will want to learn how to program easily with Scratch!

what are the features of Scratch?

do you know what it is but still have the feeling that you don’t understand what you can use it for? don’t worry! There is still a lot of information to learn about the features of Scratch.

So… What are the points to keep in mind to learn as much information as possible about Scratch? These are the following:

It is a visual programming language and this means that it allows you to create programs by manipulating graphical elements.
It is based on graphic blocks and its interface is very simple and intuitive.
It has a collaborative environment in which users can share projects on the web.
It works by joining blocks that can be events, sounds and graphic movements.
It can be run directly on the Internet browser.
All Scratch functions are available in multiple languages, including Spanish.

Knowing these features you should already have a better idea of what Scratch is, but we still have yet to learn how it works and what Scratch is for.

Source: Pexels

how does Scratch work?

You already know what Scratch is and its features, now let’s see what matters most to us: how does Scratch work? It is true that it has multiple alternatives to choose from and that, without a tutorial, it can be difficult. However, once you learn, you will advance quickly with your work.

Before we continue explaining, we take this moment to remind you that, if you are interested in learning to program easily with Scratch, you can download Scratch totally free from its official website. One of the benefits of Scratch is that it is free and works on Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems.

Now, the first thing you should know is that programming with Scratch is really very simple. In a matter of seconds you can create programs without any previous knowledge, all you have to do is drag the code blocks from the left column to the middle column. the advantages of Scratch are plain to see!

On the other hand, note that the most important parts of Scratch are its instruction blocks , which are classified as follows:

Movement: allows the object to move and rotate.
Appearance: allows the object to talk, think or change its appearance.
Sound: everything related to the program’s sound effects.
Events: allows you to start a sequence of actions when a certain event occurs.
Control: are the conditioners: “If-else”, “Repeat x times”, “Wait”, “Stop”….
Sensors: detects when the object interacts with the environment.
Operators: mathematical operators (+, -, *, /), random number generator, comparators, “and”, “or” statements and negations.
Variables: creation of variables and their assignment in the program.
More blocks: allows you to create your own functions.

Its ease of use means that the Scratch program for children can even be used by adults who want to learn to program in a simple way. And if that’s not enough, you can consult some tutorials to get started in the Scratch program even more easily. You have everything at your fingertips!

Finally, if you want to have more clarity about what Scratch is and how it works, we leave you the following video tutorial.

what is Scratch for?

If you have reached this point, you should no longer have any doubts about what Scratch is, since we have already learned about its features and how it works. However, maybe you still don’t understand what the purpose of Scratch is and what Scratch is for.

The main objective of the platform is for kids to learn how to program and make games, animations or artistic projects easily. On the other hand, the answer to what Scratch is for is a bit more extensive.

Contrary to what many may think, Scratch is not a program to waste time or for entertainment. In fact, using Scratch functions forelementary school children can be beneficial for their education and overall development.

The scratch program for children favors the development of some elementary skills for a future professional. Some of them are the following.

Source: Scratch

1. Creative thinking and problem solving

One of the greatest benefits of the Scratch program is that it encourages intellectual curiosity and creative thinking by stimulating the search for innovative solutions to unexpected problems.

Through Scratch animation, young people learn how to solve problems by facing new challenges and creating new solutions. There is no doubt that, with this foundation, they will acquire all the necessary skills to use more complex platforms in the near future.

2. Abstract reasoning

An important part of what Scratch is, is learning to program, and this learning, involves facing divergent reasoning, anticipating errors and quickly evaluating mental scenarios.

Source: Scratch

3. Computational thinking

One of the advantages of Scratch is that it helps students develop the way they think computationally and critically. The element of interaction that occurs when programming helps students learn to manage their time and programmable objects.

Thinking through technology is not only a habit that should be adopted by children, therefore, you can detect another justification why making animations with Scratch is also a perfect plan for adults. Once you master them, we invite you to continue learning in our front-end courses.

4. Autonomous and long-term learning

Scratch for kids or for adults is not only a way to teach programming, but, with that same practice, students get to learn the value of constancy and persistence.

In other words, when working on Scratch animations, from their interactive components to the results, users learn to face new challenges. Making these challenges their own makes them more personal and helps them develop their problem-solving skills.

In conclusion, what Scratch is all about is helping the learner to do their own learning. Children learn how to learn and consequently become aware that they themselves are capable of gaining more knowledge on their own.

5. Collaborative work and communication

One of the features of Scratch is that its programming language is very easy to read and, because of this, it is easy to share. This makes Scratch the perfect platform for collaborative, group and communal work .

The sharing factor is one of the elements of what Scratch is all about. That is, it is not only about learning to read and write, but it involves the student himself to express himself through the elements of the program.

Thanks to Scratch’s features, students can upload their projects and receive constructive criticism, reviews and feedback, thus helping students to focus on their project in a creative way by having feedback from others.

“The children who program have a low level of selfishness and competitiveness, because when it comes to carrying out a project, they work as a team until they achieve their goals,” according to the website Scratch School, an expert in Scratch information.

Source: Scratch

6. Handling information and communication technologies

One of the advantages of Scratch is that it helps young people and students to delve even deeper into an environment they already master quite well: the digital world. Although the new generations spend a lot of time on the Internet, it is more of a relationship of using, rather than doing something with that knowledge.

That is, part of what Scratch is, is to give us a way to develop the digital interaction of students so that they can designand create themselves the media in which they normally interact.

what are the advantages of Scratch?

Finally, after knowing what Scratch is and how it is used, it only remains for us to summarize the advantages of Scratch as a computer program for children and young people.

The Scratch program is free open source software.
Scratch’s enormous variety of functions are perfect for teaching and learning to program to virtually anyone.
It is available for several operating systems, Windows, Mac and Linux.
The Scratch program allows projects to be shared over the Internet and can be downloaded and used by others.
It is multilingual.

We cannot forget that within Scratch, in addition to its advantages, we will also find some disadvantages. The most relevant are the following:

In some occasions, the speed to execute some functions will not be the desired one. If very complex commands are programmed, the final file may have defects.
One of the main disadvantages of Scratch is that to use the program, you will have to install Java on your computer.

how to use the Scratch activity guide?

With this tutorial on what Scratch is and what to use it for, you will have noticed thatthe platform is very varied: it can be adapted to any type of user and any type of content you want to create.

However, there are those who go through the situation of being in front of Scratch’s functions and not knowing what to do. To your surprise, the programming system also includes a solution to this concern through its extensive activity guide.

In the list of alternatives offered by the guide you will not find information about Scratch that we have not mentioned elsewhere, but you will have extra help to start designing your project.

So… What kind of activities can you find? Here are the most important ones:

Animate a name.
Create a chase game .
Narrate a story.
Make music.
Give life, with digital movements, to a character.

how to use Scratch for educators?

Although Scratch animations are intended for young users or adults with no programming experience, it is unlikely that students will come to the platform on their own. In other words, there are always educators involved .

Faced with this reality, the benefits of Scratch were expanded when the platform decided to place a section for educators where any type of teacher can register. There they will receive all the instructions to guide their students in the best possible way.

In short, what advantages of Scratch are available to educators? The following:

Resources to prepare classes in a simple and practical way.
Training to improve the teacher’s programming skills.
Access to videos, ideal for learning Scratch down to the last detail.
Connectivity, access to internal groups and social networks to seek support from other Scratch educators.

Source: Scratch

do you have any doubts about what Scratch is? no? well, that’s good! Remember that although it is a program intended for children, it doesn’t mean that you can’t use it if you want to get started in programming to make animations and complement it with our list of HTML tags and CSS properties.

Remember that “adults who are not familiar with other programming languages can also find it a useful element” to create all kinds of animations in Scratch, according to the media La Verdad.

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