Chapter 10: An Introduction to Scratch

So far in this book, you’ve learned a lot about how to use programs that other people have written on your Raspberry Pi. The chief goal of the Raspberry Pi project is to get people writing their own programs, however—and not just adults. The Raspberry Pi Foundation is working to get the device adopted as an educational tool for all age ranges.

A key requirement for reaching that goal is ensuring that young children can experience the joy of creating their own software, rather than just consuming other people’s code. The secret to this is Scratch.

Introducing Scratch

Created by the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab in 2006 as an offshoot of the Squeak and Smalltalk languages, Scratch takes the core concepts of programming and makes them accessible to all. Long-winded typing—tiring and dull for younger children—is replaced with a simple jigsaw-like drag-and-drop environment, which nevertheless encourages programmatic thinking and introduces the core concepts used by all programming languages.

Officially considered a program for ages eight and above, but accessible to even younger programmers with a little help and guidance, Scratch is deceptively powerful. Behind its colourful and mouse-driven user interface is a programming language that includes impressive multimedia functionality. It should come as no surprise then that, of the more than two-and-a-half million Scratch projects shared by ...

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