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What do young people learn as they create This project-design process combines many of

interactive stories, animations, games, music, the 21st century learning skills that will be
and art with Scratch? critical to success in the future: thinking
creatively, communicating clearly, analyzing
For one thing, they learn mathematical and systematically, collaborating effectively,
computational ideas that are built into the designing iteratively, learning continuously.
Scratch experience. As students create
programs in Scratch, they learn core Creating projects in Scratch also helps
computational concepts such as iteration and students develop a deeper level of fluency
conditionals. They also gain an understanding with digital technology. What do we mean by
of important mathematical concepts such as fluency? To be considered fluent in English,
coordinates, variables, and random numbers. Spanish, or other language, you must learn
not only how to read but also to write – that is,
Significantly, students learn these concepts in how to express yourself with the language.
a meaningful and motivating context. When Similarly, to be fluent with digital technology,
students learn about variables in traditional you must learn not only how to interact with
algebra classes, they usually feel little the computer but also to create with it.
personal connection to the concept. But when
they learn about variables in the context of Of course, most students will not grow up to
Scratch, they can use variables immediately in become professional programmers, just as
very meaningful ways: to control the speed of most will not become professional writers. But
an animation, or to keep track of the score in a learning to program offers benefits for
game they are creating. everyone: it enables students to express
themselves more fully and creatively, helps
As students work on Scratch projects, they them develop as logical thinkers, and helps
also learn about the process of design. them understand the workings of the new
Typically, a student will start with an idea, technologies that they encounter everywhere
create a working prototype, experiment with it, in their everyday lives.
debug it when things go wrong, get feedback
References
from others, then revise and redesign it. It’s a
continuous spiral: get an idea, create a project, Scratch: Programming for All (http://bit.ly/YcK3n)
st
which leads to new ideas, which lead to new 21 Century Learning Skills (http://bit.ly/119M3wZ)
projects, and on and on.

Lifelong Kindergarten Group, MIT Media Lab