Scratch and Play, the MIT Way

Fred Wilson, of fame, published a blog today where he gave a shout out to Scratcha visual programming language that makes building software as easy as building a Lego project.

Scratch is a project of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab. With Scratch, you can program your own interactive stories, games, and animations — and share your creations with others in the online community. Scratch helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively — essential skills for life in the 21st century. I’m thinking about using it next year as part of a course that briefly talks about programming.

As Fred points out, it Scratch is also a community, free for everyone to use, now more than 70 million members, where the software creators share what they made with others and let others reuse and remake what they made.

I thought I’d give Scratch a quick try, and I was able to create a very simple video game in about five minutes. Below is a two-minute video where I explain the basic steps that went into making the game, and then below that is an embedded copy of the game that you can play right from my web site.

To start the game, just click the green flag in the top right corner of the game. To play the game, just move your mouse around to hit the ball before it touches the red line at the bottom of the screen.

Warning – it’s no Pac-Man, but it was fun and incredibly easy to make this game, taking only about 20 minutes from start to finish. When I get some free time, I plan to add some more bells and whistles.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy it.

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Jim Borden

Accounting Prof. at Villanova; happily married for 30+ years; father of 3 outstanding young men; vegan; interests: fitness, creativity, education, blogging, social media.

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