Teachers Reflect on the Scratch 3.0 Preview
By Alexa Kutler of the ScratchEd Team
After reading a blog post by the Scratch Team about some of the new features coming with 3.0, we were curious to learn about how these shifts might impact teachers’ classroom experiences with Scratch. We sat down with a few educators at the Boston ScratchEd Meetup for a Scratch 3.0 preview session.
Here are five new features that captured the attention of the teachers:
1. THE BLOCK PALETTE
One of the first features that the teachers noticed was the new user interface, and in particular, the block palette. Many appreciated that students can now scroll through all of the script categories to find a block that they need, rather than searching through the categories one at a time. This is exciting, as sometimes students have difficulty knowing where to find a particular block when they are first learning the program. The teachers noted that it now feels much more intuitive and will be a welcome shift for new and old users alike.
2. THE SCRIPTS AREA
In addition to the block palette, teachers observed that students now have a huge scripts area to work on. What’s more, the area itself is now lighter in color and feels more expansive, and in many ways it mimics the feeling of having a blank canvas on which to play. The teachers noted that the additional space gives students more room to lay out their code and tinker with different strategies and ideas.
Teachers were perplexed when they could not find the music, pen or video motion scripts. These scripts have been moved to Scratch extensions, which are now featured in a separate menu, allowing students access to new opportunities to experiment and expand their creative potential for programing. While the only extensions available in the Scratch 3.0 preview are the pen, music and video motion tools, the teachers look forward to exploring how “talk to your projects” and other extensions might impact students’ interactions with the program.
4. SPRITES AND COSTUMES
Many teachers also noticed a number of new sprites and costumes. What was even more exciting, was that many of the new sprites have at least three additional costumes, so if a student who is new to Scratch wants a sprite to appear to be moving, they need only set their costume in a loop to generate quite the effect! Additionally, one educator noted, the newly designed paint editor allows more advanced students more flexibility to design their own costumes and sprites!
5. TABLET COMPATIBILITY
The teachers were very excited about Scratch 3.0’s new tablet compatibility. Many noted that this will be a game changer for schools and students who work with tablets only. Students will be able to share their projects from their cell phones as well as program directly from a tablet.
What would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments below!