Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Scratch Revamped

This is the second year of a collaboration between Gary Bertoia 's South Saigon International School in Vietnam and my classroom. Again the students are working in pairs and designing their own video games using Scratch. Last year we tried this with some bumps in the road.

So we are trying a few new things this year. First of all I have some new tools. This year I am piloting Google Apps at the middle school for my district whereas Gary's class already had them last year. Also our filter has been opened up which was a problem last year as my students had trouble downloading the game files. This has made the project much easier.

Next we had the students make introduction videos so they could get to know each other. They are posted on the blog we are using so students can view them. Hopefully we will get a chance to make more videos as we progress, but it feels like we are under time pressure to finish.

Problems that I am starting to notice is that it is a huge jump for the students to move from creating games from step by step powepoint instructions to designing their own game from "scratch." The instruction games were for students to learn how the program works, but it seems to be difficult for most of them to translate what they have "learned" to a new situation. I am thinking about how I can facilitate this transition. We are really just getting started so if you have any great suggestions let me know.


  1. Where do they get stuck? Do they not know what sort of video game they want to create? Or do they know that and get stuck in the implementation?

  2. They have the ideas and have written out what they want to do, but they do not seem to be able to take the techniques that they learned in following directions in basic games and transfer them to write programs of their own.

    When they do not know how to do something, I ask them what they have done that is similar in a previous program or even point them to it to copy and adjust. It does not seem to come "natural" to many of them. Of course some are getting it and even more yesterday. I think it is just a different skill and way of thinking than they are used to.

  3. I think students are used to getting fed their school-learning in very small bites.

    I hope they're engaged enough in their game creating to take the risks and push themselves harder in this project.

    I think it would come naturally if schooling hadn't come between them and their original passion for learning.