Why use Scratch or MicroWorlds?

How can Scratch or MicroWorlds meet the challenge of educating children in the 21st Century?

Why does this software deserve a place in the crowded curriculum?

MicroWorlds and Scratch are both tools that allow students to be actively involved in constructing knowledge. They encourage students to be creative designers, problem solvers, reflective and collaborative.

By using a project based approach to learning students can assimilate new knowledge and understandings across a number of the curriculum domains described in the Victorian Essential Learning Standards simultaneously. For example creating a story in Scratch develops an understanding of Literature but will also give students an opportunity to develop skills in Mathematics, Personal Learning, Thinking Processes, The Arts, Communication, and of course ICT. Each of these areas are represented quite strongly when students are supported with techniques they can use, allowed to be original, and given the time to develop, share and reflect on their projects.

MicroWorlds and Scratch change the way students use computers. Computers are a great source of information and often the first port of call for students when researching. This is really just an extension of the traditional classroom except that students are using the internet to research instead of books. Sure the information is much more up-to-date and requires a new set of filters to ensure integrity but is it innovative? The concept of reconstructing knowledge using MicroWorlds or Scratch allows students to use computers as tools of creativity and authentic learning. it is not transmissive learning it is learning in the constructionist mode.

Expressly students develop a strong understanding of mathematical concepts which are difficult to teach in the traditional instructional teaching style. Often the students are unaware of the maths that they are ingesting because it is so purposeful. Concepts such as coordinates, variables, angles, iteration are a natural part of the design process in MicroWorlds and Scratch. Similarly logical thinking and problem solving strategies are key integral processes that students use and develop through designing, and completing projects.

References
Rethinking Learning in the Digital Age
http://www.media.mit.edu/~mres/papers/wef.pdf

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