Scratch Programming for Primary School Children at Redesign Pedagogy Conference 2011
In this technology-pervasive 21st century, digital literacy, no doubt ,is an important life skill that the students must acquire as such literacy will be essential for their future workplace. Besides using the typical computer applications like office and email, digital literate students will need to construct new knowledge, create media expressions, and communicate with others with the use of technology. Clearly, the traditional way of “just teaching from the textbook” is not suffice to equip the students with this essential literacy. Teaching the students programming may be able to address this gap. Programming can be even taught to young children if they are given the right programming tools. This paper reports on the programming experiences of Primary 2 students using Scratch, an intuitive graphical programming language developed by MIT for young children. The traditional programming language use Fregean representation which resembles closely the computer’s way of thinking. Such language is not suitable for the young children. On the other hand, Scratch adopts an analogical representation which resembles closely the way human think. This allows the young students to pick up the language easily. In this implementation, all the 240 Primary 2 students undergo a compulsory 3-hour Scratch module during curriculum time. Another group of Primary 2 students opt to continue with the Scratch program during enrichment class. Scratch projects are collected; teacher’s informal observation and chats with the pupils, survey and interviews with the pupils were carried out. This exploratory case study provides encouraging evidence that programming with Scratch has the potential to equip the young children with digital literacy.