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Afterschool Curriculum Choice: Technology Resources

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Resource Description
Staff, Planning,
and Costs
Standards, Research, and Evaluation


With Scratch software, users can easily combine media to create and share their own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art. As young people work on projects in Scratch, they learn many of the 21st century skills that will be critical to success in the future: thinking creatively, communicating clearly, analyzing systematically, using technologies fluently, collaborating effectively, designing iteratively, and learning continuously.

Scratch, a free software program, was developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten research group at the MIT Media Lab, with financial support from the National Science Foundation, Microsoft, Intel Foundation, Nokia, and MIT Media Lab research consortia.

Content Focus:
Media Arts Production, Computer Programming, Math,

Linkages to:
Science, Language Arts,

Grades/Ages: Ages 8 and up, suitable for younger children with adult guidance

Costs: Free
The costs shown were accurate at the time of the review. Please check the publisher's web site for current prices.

Publication Date: 2004-08

Developer Contact Information
The Lifelong Kindergarten research group at the MIT Media Lab
The Media Laboratory
Building E15
77 Massachusetts Avenue

Cambridge, MA 02139

Design Overview

Scratch is a fun, interactive program that ignites creativity in young people and gives them the tools to explore computational ideas. At the core of Scratch is a graphical programming language that lets the user control the actions and interactions among different media. Coding in Scratch is much easier than in traditional programming languages. To create a script, users simply snap together graphical blocks, much like LEGO bricks or puzzle pieces. They can produce stories, animations, games, simulations, or interactive art projects this way. Once ready, users may share what they've created on the Scratch website.

An enthusiastic group of users make up the Scratch online community, presenting valuable opportunities for sharing projects, exchanging ideas, and networking. It is easy for educators to facilitate Scratch workshops, given the user-friendly, intuitive design of the program, as well as the online support, resources, and other materials.

  • Activity Types: design, media arts production, exhibition
  • Materials/technology required: Computer, Scratch software (download for free from the website) available for both Mac OS X and Windows machines. Internet is recommended for accessing the online gallery space and supporting resources. An LCD Projector is helpful for demonstrating.
  • Program Length/Duration: Variable - workshops can run from 1-hour sessions to a series of workshops
  • Site Adoption: Museums, afterschool programs, community centers, libraries, youth-led clubs, and schools are all using Scratch.

Instructional Approach

Young people learn the design process by imagining, creating, testing, refining, and redesigning their own creations with Scratch. At the same time, they also learn key academic concepts, such as computational ideas and mathematics, in a way that's more meaningful - applied learning. Educators facilitate this learning process by setting the stage for exploration and experimentation, which enables youth to express themselves creatively, think logically, and deepen their understanding of technology and digital media tools.

Consideration of Special Student Populations

Scratch is a visual program that can be used to explore content and create in a range of different media formats (online games, digital storytelling, animation), making it engaging for young people with various learning styles and interests. Additionally, Scratch is available in multiple languages - and users are encouraged to submit their own translations as well. Visit to see a list of the translations and supplemental materials currently available.

Online Training for Afterschool Staff
The Afterschool Training Toolkit is available online free of charge.

The following resources can be used with the online Afterschool Training Toolkit to give you the resources you need to build fun, innovative, and academically enriching afterschool activities.