Navyscourge
Posts: 258
Joined: Sat Oct 24, 2015 1:50 pm

Scratch (MIT), Code Club, Pi and teaching Scratch

Thu Sep 08, 2016 7:25 am

I am trying to analyse the following scenarios, not to find the definitive *BEST* option, but to define the range of options that can be chosen by Code Club volunteers or students using Scratch (specifically for England, but if applicable to other countries I am also interested).

Code Club:
1a) Code Clubs running in schools or libraries have access to desktop PCs that are 'locked down' so installing software is not easy. Running the Scratch online version (Scratch 2) only requires a browser and Adobe Flash. Projects are stored online.

1b) Code Clubs can download the Scratch 2 editor for use offline, and download or upload the project using the online version (if required). Hopefully the clubs computers allow saving, and transfer of projects to media to use at home.

1c) Code Clubs can download the Scratch 1.4 editor for use offline, and download or upload the project using the online version (if required). Hopefully the clubs computers allow saving, and transfer of projects to media to use at home. Scratch 2 projects do not run in Scratch 1.4.

1d) Code Clubs can encourage the use of a Raspberry Pi, either owned by the club or by the student. Sometimes, hardware is physically secured, so disconnecting monitors, keyboards and mice is not possible. Projects are stored on the Pi SD card, or other media, and could be shared online.

1e) Code Clubs can use a Pi using the headless configuration, but the Pi would need to be set up to connect via the network or a direct cable. Projects are stored on the Pi SD card, or other media, and could shared online.

At home:
2a) Running Scratch online at home requires the student to have access to a desktop PC or laptop running windows, or a Mac, with flash, and to have an internet connection. They can access their stored projects at home.

2b) At home, the student can install the Scratch 2 editor for use offline, and use their projects saved on their media if they do not have an internet connection. They would need an offline installer for Scratch and Adobe Air.

2c) At home, the student can install the Scratch 1.4 editor for use offline, if they have lower specification PC. Their projects are saved on their media if they do not have an internet connection. They would need an offline installer for Scratch (no Adobe Flash). Scratch 2 projects do not run in Scratch 1.4.

2d) People running x86 Linux at home can run Scratch 2 with the available Flash, but this is not being kept maintained the same as the Windows version.

2e) Students can use their own Pi to develop projects. When saved, they can be uploaded to the online Scratch as 1.4 projects. Scratch 2 projects do not run. (I think).

2f) For an iPad, the App Pyonkee will run Scratch 1.4 to create and save projects. Scratch 2 projects do not run. (I have not tested this, I need to borrow an iPad).

2g) For an Android tablet, the Puffin web browser runs Scratch 2 using 'in the cloud' conversion of Flash code. (I checked that it runs, but have not yet created a project).

2h) Using any tablet / touch screen device may be difficult as some of the 'clicks' use a very small clickable area.

Other:
3a) Using the Pi gives access to hardware projects, such as lights and switches. This is not possible with other versions of Scratch.

3b) The Scratch website suggests that tablet versions may be coming soon, and that Scratch 3 will use HTML5 graphics (release next year). I am not too concerned about this at the moment, but it may affect any options in the future.

Why?
Why am I asking this? As hinted above, I would like to write a guide for Code Club that gives these options, and detailed instructions for any installs. Not all students have access to necessary hardware, and not all Code Club leaders have all the technical knowledge to do what is required.

Please post corrections to anything I have posted (quote the number, e.g. 2a) as I have not tested quite a bit of this; I will be testing this if I can, at some point soon.

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rpdom
Posts: 15584
Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 5:17 am
Location: Chelmsford, Essex, UK

Re: Scratch (MIT), Code Club, Pi and teaching Scratch

Thu Sep 08, 2016 6:42 pm

My scenario (as a Code Club volunteer in a library) is:

1a) To save projects online the club members will be required to create a Scratch account. Initially we download their projects to a club USB stick, but then give the parents details of how to create an account and suggest they write down the login/password for the child.

2a) I believe most of our members use this method, whilst I use 2d) as I don't have Windows systems.

3a) We have access to a small number of Raspberrys Pi and have had some club members using them with LEDs and switches, while others used Sonic Pi on the library PCs.

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bensimmo
Posts: 4187
Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2014 3:02 pm
Location: East Yorkshire

Re: Scratch (MIT), Code Club, Pi and teaching Scratch

Mon Sep 26, 2016 8:11 am

In Primary Schools.
Most should have access or installed Scratch on their computers.
Coding is now part of the curriculum pretty early on now.

You may find, they do not have pen drive access and only a teachers computer does, even then in some school and probably increasingly so, even locked down (to easy to break privacy rules).

Many now have Cloud access, e.g. OneDrive or VLE.

Many homes do not have a computer, Tablets and Phones are the thing now. They do everything a computer would do at a Primary School age. Well apart from Flash, which is a pain since many have not moved on yet ,e.g. the well used MyMaths, though they are in the same situation and have just realise Tablet do not use Flash easily. (Puffin for both Android and iPad is suggested there)
You can suggest that, but to be honest it may be better to just say wait for the new version to come out. Scratch has had plenty of time to move on.
Gtg

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