April 9: ScratchJr for Android too!
Thanks to everyone who helped us pass our $60K stretch goal! We will now move forward with an Android version of ScratchJr (in addition to the iPad version).
Special thanks to Adobe, which donated $10K as part of its Tweet for Good program (http://adobe.ly/1koEqCe).
Our next stretch goal is at $80K, to support development of resources and curriculum materials for parents and teachers.
March 26: New stretch goals, new reward!
We've established two stretch goals:
* $60K: We'll release Android version of ScratchJr in 2014
* $80K: We'll develop resources and curriculum materials for parents and teachers
We've also added a new reward: for $40, you can receive a ScratchJr T-shirt, featuring the ScratchJr cat and logo (all sizes: child and adult).
Thanks for your continuing support for ScratchJr!
March 19: We exceeded our goal!! Now what?
We reached our $25,000 goal in less than two days. Thanks to everyone who backed our project!
With $25,000, we’ll be able to release an iPad version of ScratchJr this summer. But there’s much more we’d like to do. With additional funds, we’d be able to:
* develop an Android version of ScratchJr
* add sharing features (to share ScratchJr projects with friends and family)
* create more resources for parents and teachers
We’d love to work on all of these things, so we hope people will keep on giving. Thanks again.
What Is ScratchJr?
ScratchJr is an introductory programming language that enables young children (ages 5-7) to create their own interactive stories and games. Children snap together graphical programming blocks to make characters move, jump, dance, and sing. Children can modify characters in the paint editor, add their own voices and sounds, even insert photos of themselves – then use the programming blocks to make their characters come to life.
ScratchJr was inspired by the popular Scratch programming language, used by millions of young people (ages 8 and up) around the world. In creating ScratchJr, we redesigned the interface and programming language to make them developmentally appropriate for younger children, carefully designing features to match young children’s cognitive, personal, social, and emotional development.
Why Are We Creating ScratchJr?
Coding (or computer programming) is a new type of literacy. Just as writing helps you organize your thinking and express your ideas, the same is true for coding. In the past, coding was seen as too difficult for most people. But we think coding should be for everyone, just like writing.
As young children code with ScratchJr, they learn how to create and express themselves with the computer, not just interact with it. In the process, children develop design and problem-solving skills that are foundational for later academic success, and they use math and language in a meaningful and motivating context, supporting the development of early-childhood numeracy and literacy.
With ScratchJr, children aren’t just learning to code, they are coding to learn.
When Will ScratchJr Be Available?
Our long-term goal is to make ScratchJr available for free on many different platforms, so that all children everywhere will have easy access to coding with ScratchJr. Our first step is to make ScratchJr available on iPads in 2014. We have already developed and tested initial prototypes. We hope that this Kickstarter campaign (coordinated by the Code-to-Learn Foundation) will help us raise the funds we need to launch ScratchJr for iPads later this year, and start work on other platforms.
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What Are People Saying About ScratchJr?"I love how much of themselves the kids can put into their creations." (Parent)
"My daughter always thought that she wasn't as good with technology as her brother, but ScratchJr showed her how much she was capable of." (Parent)
“I love ScratchJr!”
(Kindergarten classroom students)
“It’s really cool, I can make whatever I want. This is my project of the very hungry caterpillar.” (Child, 6 years old, showing off his ScratchJr book report)
“ScratchJr, ScratchJr, ScratchJr!” (First-grade classroom, after being told it was time for a ScratchJr lesson)
“The students love working on ScratchJr, in and out of class. They are definitely very engaged and interested in the program. I love that it requires them to do multiple steps on each page, and that carries over into other areas of their curriculum. I like that they have to think in advance what they are going to do and then test it out throughout the process.” (First-grade Teacher)
“I love that there are math elements with the grid and figuring out how far to make your character move, and literacy since they are making a story in the project. I can definitely see myself using this in a regular curriculum unit.” (First-grade Teacher)
“There are a lot of skills the kids have been learning throughout the school year that have definitely been reinforced when they use ScratchJr, like problem solving, trial and error, creating directions and then following them. ScratchJr has really given them a chance to be creative and design their different projects, and it’s been really great to see so many of the students learning from each other.” (Second-grade Teacher)
Who Is Creating ScratchJr?
ScratchJr is a collaboration between the DevTech research group at the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development at Tufts University (led by Prof. Marina Umaschi Bers), the Lifelong Kindergarten research group at the MIT Media Lab (led by Prof. Mitchel Resnick), and the Playful Invention Company (led by Paula Bonta and Brian Silverman). The graphics and illustrations for ScratchJr are created by HvingtQuatre Company, Sarah Thomson, Jillian Lombardi, and Peter Mueller. The initial development of ScratchJr has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Code-to-Learn Foundation, the LEGO Foundation, and British Telecommunications.
The DevTech research group at Tufts focuses on creating technologies and pedagogical approaches that take into consideration the developmental needs of young children to promote positive development. More about Marina’s work and approach can be found in her books: Blocks to Robots: Learning with Technology in the Early Childhood Classroom (Teacher's College Press, 2008) and Designing Digital Experiences for Positive Youth Development: From Playpen to Playground (Oxford University Press, 2012).
The Lifelong Kindergarten research group at the MIT Media Lab develops new technologies and activities that, in the spirit of the blocks and fingerpaint of kindergarten, engage people in creative learning experiences. The group developed ideas and technologies underlying the LEGO Mindstorms robotics kits and Scratch programming language, used by millions of young people around the world. The group also co-founded the Computer Clubhouse, an international network of after-school centers where young people from low-income communities learn to express themselves creatively with new technologies.
Both Marina and Mitch were mentored and inspired by Seymour Papert, the mathematician and educational visionary who developed the Logo programming language and laid the intellectual foundations for many of today’s creative learning technologies. In creating ScratchJr, Marina and Mitch are aiming to fulfill Papert’s dream of a world in which all children have the opportunity to explore, experiment, and express themselves with new technologies.
Risks and challenges
There are always some challenges in completing a software project. But we do not see any significant risks or challenges. We have a strong development team, and we are fully confident that we will be able to complete the ScratchJr software and release it to the public.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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