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A Beginner’s Guide to Computer Programming for Educators

Michael Badger’s latest book, Scratch 1.4 Beginner’s Guide, offers teachers, parents, and new programmers a project-based introduction to the Scratch computer programming language. Scratch is developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab as an educational tool to stimulate 21st Century Learning skills among children as young as eight years old by teaching them how to design, analyze, collaborate and create computer programs. HUGHESVILLE, PA, August 07, 2009 /24-7PressRelease/ — Michael Badger’s latest book, Scratch 1.4 Beginner’s Guide, offers teachers, parents, and new programmers a project-based introduction to the Scratch computer programming language. Scratch is developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab as an educational tool to stimulate 21st Century Learning skills among children as young as eight years old by teaching them how to design, analyze, collaborate and create computer programs.

Scratch features color-coded palette of blocks that can be stacked on top of one another to create games, interactive art, animated stories, and multimedia projects. The blocks create a sequence of commands called scripts that provide direction to a cast of characters known as sprites. The sprites tell their story on the Scratch stage.

In his book, Badger shows readers how to create several projects, including an animated birthday card, a remake of the classic Pong game, and a graphing example inspired by the folktale One Grain of Rice. Each project example includes step-by-step instructions, a discussion of the concepts and an opportunity to experiment.

The projects in the book can be re-used and remixed by teachers and parents to create assignments for their students and children. All projects can be downloaded from the book’s companion web site. In addition, Scratch bundles dozens of projects under a Creative Commons license, which grants users the right to create and distribute derivative works.

The Scratch community at http://scratch.mit.edu provides a moderated, child friendly environment where Scratchers of all ages can share their projects and get feedback about their work.

Though Scratch has a primary audience of 8-16 year olds, it is being used in college-level computer science classes as an introductory programming language. Scratch eliminates the biggest obstacle to novice programmers, syntax errors.

Michael Badger is a technical communicator and computer book author for Packt Publishing who is helping his readers stay one step ahead of their students. He also wrote Zenoss Core Network and System Monitoring, a guide to setting up enterprise IT management software. For more information visit http://www.badgerfiles.com.


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