Using Scratch 3 in Primary Classroom

I normally teach Scratch using 1.4 in class but decided to give Scratch 3 a try-out in January/February with Year 4 (previous class experience – one half-term when they were in Year 3)

Summary

Not going to use it with Year 3 next half-term as:

  • Not as easy to manipulate the blocks. Scratch 1.4 is MUCH better at drag and dropping, which is very much needed at beginners level
  • Low contrast colour scheme makes it MUCH harder for pupils to read projected image on an Interactive Board. Its not that easy to read on their own laptops even.
  • Block size means scripting area becomes full quicker. So once projects go beyond two scripts – can’t fit them all in scripting area without scrolling
  • Loading and saving is non-standard. Need to adjust settings in browser to allow choice of save location.
  • Offline Scratch Desktop is quite slow and even more non-standard for loading/saving so I’d only use it if whole school internet was down.
  • Its missing some features that were present in Scratch 1.4 and Scratch 2

But planning on using it with Year 5 after Easter because:

  • Year 5 have had three years experience of Scratch and contain quite a few school coding club members who’ve been using it since Christmas. Going to be my Scratch 3 teaching assistants (unpaid)
  • Hoping that a lot of the above issues will have been remedied or at least improved upon
  • The small changes and additions to the block functions and methods are good and make it easier to do things (reduced floor level and raised ceiling in ScratchSpeak)
  • The text-speech extension is VERY popular with the current Year 4 and lets pupils enhance their projects very easily. Obviously, its great for creative cross-curricular animations but enhances even basic CS lessons. But make sure you teach pupils how to turn volume down first 🙂
  • And, I’ve avoided using Scratch 2, for various reasons that not going to regurgitate here, but having ability to define user functions is something that I’ve always missed out on so it would be good to finally use it.

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