Scratch Conference 2017 in Bordeaux

Millions around the world use Scratch as their first coding experience. To learn from the best Scratch educators, to get some new inspirations, and to share my own experiences with this fantastic coding platform, I went to the international Scratch 2017 conference in Bordeaux, aka Scratch2017Bdx, this July, and I was not disappointed! Here are just some of my take-aways… many of them will make their way into my classes with cccSkerries (in real life, here in Skerries, Co. Dublin, Ireland) and (online) with thecccCo.

10 things I brought back from Scratch2017Bdx…

  1. Use Scratch more for story telling – imaginary stories or stories based on real life (for instance, tales from a family’s history, or projects based on what is happening in the world – check out the Syrian Refugees stories created by students in a Chicago high school).
  2. Get a taste of Augmented Reality – easy with Scratch! We’ll use the camera and pick-colour / when touching colour function to make a ping pong game that uses real (drawn) paddles, as shown by Scratcher Xefi during one of the many fantastic workshops. (This is one for the intermediate camp, I think!)
  3. Do even more with the Scratch graphics editor! … a fantastic tutorial I’ll use (again in the intermediate camp / groups) was created by a 17-year-old girl from South Africa, known on Scratch as Bubble103, who was at the conference.
  4. Have a closer look at Scratch 3.0 in its current pre-pre-alpha version…
    The next version of Scratch will run on tablets and smartphones, so more places to show off our work, yay!
  5. …. and do the Scratch 3.0 team a favour by running several Scratch 2.0 projects in the current Scratch 3.0 version to check if they’re working
  6. Keep an eye out for projects by Scratchers I met during the conference, and add more of their projects to my Scratch Studio (a collection of Scratch projects) “#Scratch2017Bdx”.
  7. Try Inkspace for creating graphics that are too complex for the Scratch graphics editors, and then import them into Scratch projects. (Thank you, Mathieu, for the tip!)
  8. Try out some of the many other things, such as Cloqq, where children can try out a number of creative technologies including Scratch; micro:bit for connecting Scratch to the real world via the (somewhat experimental) ScratchX site *but oh no, what do I see, it’s for Mac only at the moment! Can’t wait for it to be extended to Windows computers, too*
  9. Spread my love for vector graphics wherever I can, in my groups, online in the community, and through my projects with thecccco and cccSkerries!
    Why vector graphics? Scratchers enjoy creating their own graphics (and it’s easier than you might think). Animations are way easier with Vector Graphics than with Bitmap. It’s a good introduction to computer graphics in general. And Scratchers can do fantastic things with their own graphics, such as explain things visually, tell a story with or without lip synching, create a music video, create a logo for their account…. Creativity rules! 😀
  10. And then there is Sonic Pi, a live coding music synth. Watch it in action at the conference party here – Sam Aaron live-coding music at the conference after-party!

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Coding for All – Really?

For a numberSkerries News September 2016 of years, “coding” has been touted as the next big thing, the skill that our children will need in order to be part of the “smart economy” of the future; the skill that will make our youngsters rich and their parents proud, once they have created that million-dollar app. Coding clubs, so-called CoderDojos, for kids have sprung up all over the world; a number of countries have introduced programming into their curriculum, and in June of this year, the Minster for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton, has asked the Irish National Council for Curriculum and Assessment to consider approaches to introducing the teaching of coding in primary schools. But is that really necessary? Is it even desirable?

As a former primary teacher (between 2010 and 2013, I worked in a number of North Dublin primary schools, both as resource and class teacher) and current “digital educator” (a term I may have made up myself, I’m not entirely sure), I can see both advantages and disadvantages of introducing every single child to programming. Continue reading

cccSkerries – The First Three Years of my Creative Computer Classes

The door to the cccSkerries room first opened in July 2013.

It’s hard to believe that I’m about to begin the fourth year of summer camps in what used to be our guest bedroom and what I now call “the cccSkerries training room.”

In the summer of 2012, I decided to become a self-employed digital educator, and – after four years as a primary teacher – to focus on what I enjoyed most in teaching: Helping kids to express their creativity through digital means, to enable them to achieve their aims through technology, and to have fun in the process.

Looking back, I can say that this was the best move ever!

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2015 Scratch Competition Entries

All these projects were created by participants in our cccSkerries Coding Classes (beginners and advanced). For the National Scratch Competition 2015, we had to pick 10 as we could not enter more than that. Here are our ten contestants! We should know by the end of April how they got on. Fingers crossed! – Sabine

PS: Wait for the page to load (might not work on a phone / tablet), then click into the project you’d like to watch or play. Enjoy!

Scratch Competition Studio 2015

  • draw your own things by destroyer200
  • “green flag to start.r to rub out.space to stop drawing.a to start drawing again.it may glitch at the start.arrow keys to move.press small line for skinny line.fat line for fat line.white for rubber”

  • weather by bazzab
  • “press green flag and see what happened. ENJOY!!!”

  • Purpleman (BETA) by ChikenEater
  • “Arrows to move and space to jump. There may be a few glitches and only levels 1 and 2 are programmed.
    V.1.0: Added this game to Scratch.
    V.1.1: Added Level 2”

  • The Zombie Infestation 1.3 by MrSupreme4543
  • “W = up A = left S = down D = right ( you’ll get used to it once you’ve played it a couple of times) Left mouse button to shoot You can use your arrow keys to select weapons. (To properly play make sure you have a mouse and its best to play this on a computer) ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
    Notes and Credits
    V1.3 Added the crosshair back changed the hit marker a bitV1.2 Finallyyyyyyyyyyyyy character selectI have a started a character select but its taking some time so just pick one of the circles.V1.1 Added a high score system (new accounts will only have a personal score system upgrade your account to have a chance to be the best)New people have started working on this with me
    egganiki : http://scratch.mit.edu/users/egganiki/
    space sphere : http://scratch.mit.edu/users/space_sphere/
    but remember i’m in charge and get the most credit (saying that in the nicest way possible) (:

    Added a super secret easter egg

    V1.0 added a main menu

    V0.9 added so when a zombie dies he respawns somewhere else deleted the health pack added health regen but it is very slow edited the hit marker

    V0.8 Added a shotgun press left arrow key to select

    V0.7 Added weapon selection by arrow keys UP = USP.45 DOWN = AK-47

    V0.6 added ak47 no more movement by arrow keys.

    V0.5 Added stuff to randomize where everything spawns and i tried to add a AK47 but its pretty glitchy and you cant use it now i’ll try to get it to work.

    V0.4 just did some stuff readying variables for a time in the future

    V0.3 Added a health bar for the player and loads more zombies and
    in the comments tell me what you want in the game.

    V0.2 Added more zombies and they can now die also changed the survivor to Santa Claus.

    V0.1 The game is made but nowhere near complete.

Sabine in dlr Libraries

I’ll be in Dún Laoghaire / Rathdown a good bit in April & May, so if you know someone in the right age interested in Scratch (Deansgrange) and / or Minecraft (Dún Laoghaire, Stillorgan, Blackrock), pass on the word! 3 sessions, free, must be booked with the libraries directly.
Scratch Coding Deansgrange: 3x Wed April 15/22/29
3-4.30 Age 7-10yrs /1st-3rd class
5-.6.30 Age 10-12yrs/ 4th-6th class
deansgrangelib@dlrcoco.ie

Minecraft Dlr LexIcon 3x Wed in May: 6/13/20
3-4.30 1st-3rd class
& 5-6.30 4th to 6th class
dlrlexiconlib@dlrcoco.ie
Minecraft Stillorgan library. 3x Thurs in May: 7/14/21
3.30-5pm 10-12yr olds
stillorganlib@dlrcoco.ie

Minecraft Blackrock library 3x Sat Mornings in May: 16/23/30
75 mins sessions
10-11.15 for 7-10yrs
11.30-12.45 for 10-12yrs.
blackrocklib@dlrcoco.ie

Sabine in dlr April May 2015