Finding an app that is both fun and educational, plus will appeal to your kids, can be tough – especially if it centres around a subject such as programming. However, the Scratch app has managed to bridge that gap, and it’s actually something that we run courses for, such is the ease of accessibility for children.
But, just how educational is Scratch, and is it something you should encourage your child to use? Obviously, we are biased, but we do have a passion for educating children, which is why we recommend Scratch as an educational tool, and here’s why.
Is Scratch educational?
There are many educational apps marketed towards children. However, a large percentage of them fail to do their jobs effectively and can often be focused on in-app purchases, over imparting meaningful knowledge to children.
In much the same vein, it is not unusual for apps designed to help kids learn how to code eventually fall to the wayside after a couple of years on the virtual market, becoming obsolete as developers slowly fail to regularly update them with new and exciting content.
Naturally, this can prove very frustrating for parents who are constantly searching for a way to introduce coding to their kids.
Instead of continuously hunting for new alternatives, what parents need to find is a platform that is educational, reliable, affordable, safe, fun, and regularly updated… which is exactly what Scratch is.
Despite being on the market for several years now, Scratch is the perfect educational app and introduction to coding for younger kids.
The developers of Scratch say its primary goal is to teach young people coding in a fun and easily digestible way – a task that can prove quite challenging for parents who have attempted this themselves.
Scratch is educational and lower down the page, we will explain some of the core benefits that kids could expect to get from using and learning with it.
How does Scratch work?
Scratch is unique in the way that it is not only a tool to teach kids how to program using block coding concepts, but is it also a visual programming language in its own right.
There are many programming languages that kids can learn, some of which are more complicated than others. However, Scratch’s programming language is one of the simplest to learn and get started with. It uses a clever design and is accessible for children of all ages, but particularly younger ones wanting to get started with coding.
By dragging sequences of blocks together on their app or website browser (something that many kids are already familiar with due to video games like Minecraft), children can easily impart instructions to their computer, tablet, or phone to make things happen – simple at first, but with ever-increasing complexity as they progress.
Within very little time at all, kids will soon advance into building their own complicated-looking animations through these blocks. From here, a snowball effect occurs, with children being encouraged to take on various unique challenges and games.
Over several months, they will naturally develop a solid understanding of how to move and program blocks enabling them to craft their own projects entirely by themselves.
Once confident in their skills, kids can team up with other “Scratchers” on large projects if this interests them – in the FunTech Scratch course we actively encourage collaboration on ideas in our virtual learning environment.
How does Scratch educate and benefit kids?
First and foremost, Scratch is educational and beneficial for children as it introduces them to programming within an easy-to-understand and fun environment. As many studies have shown, kids are more likely to pick up on subjects when they enjoy and have fun studying them.
Additionally, there is a plethora of information showing that children are more likely to remember skills they have mastered when these experiences are associated with positive and engaging memories – which Scratch certainly provides them with.
Furthermore, involvement in Scratch’s lively community further increases the chance that young people will eventually become passionate about programming. Through communicating and teaming up with like-minded peers, children are able to foster an appreciation for programming and build amazing projects.
If they are very lucky, their project may even reach the featured page, giving them the chance to experience the rewards associated with hard work.
Another benefit most parents are unaware of is the potential for children to work on their online communication skills. Although there is no direct messaging on Scratch, kids can comment on their peer’s projects and offer words of encouragement or other kind gestures.
In a world that is increasingly seeing more and more businesses moving their trade solely online, learning to communicate effectively, act fairly, and work closely with other people on the internet is a vital skill that all children should master at an early age.
Although Scratch is not used in a professional programming environment, many kids will start on this and then progress onto more complex programming courses.
Introducing your kids to Scratch can be an importing step towards if and when they choose to move on to a different programming language in the future.
Why could learning programming be a good career choice for kids?
Throughout the modern world, millions of businesses rely on programmers to build their websites and program their tech products. Without programmers, common household items, such as mobile phones, dishwashers, and televisions, would not work at all.
Therefore, businesses are always on the lookout for new programmers that can assist them, regardless of the industry involved. Although programming is slowly becoming more popular amongst students, it is still not a common career choice for many.
In addition to this, many programming careers pay extremely well, with proficient programmers often earning a salary that is well above the national average. Lastly, with hard work and effort, children can master a desirable skill that will never become redundant or otherwise be replaced by machines.
To find out more, read our 13 reasons why kids should learn to code.