Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Making Cartoons and Games with Scratch

I like asking teachers, musicians, and others what their favorite software is for graphics, recording, etc. Last night I asked my friend Charlie Morse what software he uses to teach elementary school students about computers and art. He recommended a free program from MIT for Windows or Mac OS X called Scratch. Here's MIT's description of the product:
Scratch is a new programming language that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art -- and share your creations on the web.
Scratch is designed for kids, though: kids learn to program by fitting various commands together like a jigsaw puzzle and then seeing the effect of those commands in a cartoon. Here's a test I did last night using a dialogue in Coushatta by Jeanette Langley and Janice Sylestine (click on the image):

Scratch Project

Scratch has many applications for language teaching. Students and teachers could build an image of a classroom, for example, and then attach recordings to different objects in the classroom. Or they could construct a cartoon that could be embedded in a website and shown to others. Kids can even record themselves saying words if their computer has a microphone.

Because Scratch can be programmed, it's possible for kids to create interactive games and quizzes. My second test was designed to teach animals and then test them (a little like Rosetta Stone):

Scratch Project

Scratch is designed for kids aged 8 and up. I would want to spend a lot of time playing with the program before I tried teaching it.


  1. When you have plastic key tags and you are scratching the Scratch Cards and the picture below is appearing slowly that is so exciting moment.

    Hank Hendricks has been a student at the University of New Hampshire- Whittmore School of Business and Economics.
    At the university he was a very active participant in the student researcher group.