Scratch in the Interactive Journalism Institute for Middle Schoolers
Scratch is a syntax-free programming language created at the Lifelong Learning Lab at MIT to entice novice programmers by making it relatively easy to create annimations, interactive stories and games. Educators around the world are using Scratch to engage students from elementary school through college.
Our interactive journalism instittute for middle schoolers (funded by the National Science Foundation — grant CNS-0739713) has used Scratch as an essential element in both our instruction and in student work. As part of the preparation for the 2008 summer institute, I created short lessons in Scratch about specific journalism-related topics, including “news sense,” interviewing, and photo journalism. I think the photojournalism lesson is the most technically realized interactive lesson I did last year. Click on the image below to try it out.
This year, our PI Ursula Wolz and undergraduate research assistant Brett Taylor, developed a rubric for assessing the computational sophistication of scratch programs. Brett and another research assistant, Chris Hallberg, also created sample scratch lessons to teach specific skills, such as the broadcast command. I look forward to being able to share that information as soon as the team is finished analyzing the data generated from the use of the rubric.
In the meantime, here are some samples of interesting Scratch animations, games and infographics created by our middle schoolers can be viewed at our online magazine website, N.EW.S. (New Ewing Web Stories)