Sorry I haven’t been making many posts lately. I have dedicated most of my time to getting the iPod Touch Educator blog off the ground.
My new favorite tool as a teacher has been Scratch. For those you that haven’t seen it, it is an amazing tool for students of all ages. It is free digital animation site where much like YouTube, students can create and upload their own stories, animation and even video games using a very simple free software program developed by MIT students. For creativity, there really is no other program for Macs + elementary level that compares. One of the reasons I love it is that there is so much flexibility in terms of what students can create. They can make a simple slide show or for complex video games. The possibilities are really endless…
We have been using it with Grade 5s as a way to show their learning in a science unit on Energy. The students get to be highly creative in establishing simple story lines to frame their learning. Here is an example: You can see the full collection here
I had the students start with very simple things to begin with. I of course had to play with it first to figure out the basics and had the students do the same. Have the students play for a period on it and give them a few challenges to work on like: try and make your sprite move back and forth, try and design your own background, try and insert music. When confronted with challenges, it makes it seem more like a mystery and students get a sense of accomplishment by figuring things out on their own. It also forces them to be a risk-taker which is really essential with these types of projects.
There is an educators site here which is great to bounce ideas off and pick up some pointers. There are some great introductory videos here that I showed students initially. It’s great to have kids teaching kids.
So get out there and try it out. It’s free to download and once you do, create an educator account so you can start uploading projects there.