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Scratch 1.4: Beginner's Guide [Paperback]

by Michael Badger
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 17, 2009 1847196764 978-1847196767

Learn to program while creating interactive stories, games, and multimedia projects using Scratch

  • Create interactive stories, games, and multimedia projects that you can reuse in your own classroom
  • Learn computer programming basics - no computer science degree required
  • Connect with the Scratch community for inspiration, advice, and collaboration
  • Provides hands-on projects that help you learn by experiment and play

In Detail

If you have the imaginative power to design complex multimedia projects but can't adapt to programming languages, then Scratch 1.4: Beginner's Guide is the book for you. Imagine how good you'll feel when you drag-and-drop your way to interactive games, stories, graphic artwork, computer animations, and much more using Scratch even if you have never programmed before.

This book provides teachers, parents, and new programmers with a guided tour of Scratch's features by creating projects that can be shared, remixed, and improved upon in your own lesson plans. Soon you will be creating games, stories, and animations by snapping blocks of "code" together.

When you program you solve problems. In order to solve problems, you think, take action, and reflect upon your efforts. Scratch teaches you to program using a fun, accessible environment that's as easy as dragging and dropping blocks from one part of the screen to another.

In this book you will program games, stories, and animations using hands-on examples that get you thinking and tinkering. For each project, you start with a series of steps to build something. Then you pause to put our actions into context so that you can relate our code to the actions on Scratch's stage. Throughout each chapter, you'll encounter challenges that encourage you to experiment and learn.

One of the things you're really going to love is that, as you begin working through the examples in the book, you won't be able to stop your imagination and the ideas will stream as fast as you can think of them. Write them down. You'll quickly realize there are a lot of young minds in your home, classroom, or community group that could benefit from Scratch's friendly face. Teach them, please.

What you will learn from this book?

  • Design user interfaces, including sequence, characters, and controls.
  • Think critically and make decisions - based on need, program limitations and knowledge level.
  • Get to know the concepts of scratch programming such as loops, conditional statements, variables, arrays, Boolean logic, dynamic interaction, coordination, synchronization, threads, and event handling, and apply it later to other programming languages.
  • Develop a barnyard humor that let's you shine as a storyteller.
  • Debug problems in your design and code.
  • Revise your projects to fix problems and add functionality.
  • Collaborate with the Scratch community by remixing and sharing projects so that you can learn from each other.
  • Communicate with peers and students about the details of your projects.
  • Capture sound, light, touch, and resistance via an external PicoBoard and use it as input for your Scratch projects.

Approach

This is a Packt Beginners Guide, which means it focuses on practical examples and has a friendly approach, with the opportunity to learn by experiment and play. We work through the project tutorials one block of code at a time, and we periodically pause to reflect on the relationship between our code blocks, our project, and Scratch programming in general. As you work through the book, you are encouraged to experiment with the concepts presented. As each chapter in the book progresses, the topics get increasingly more complex.

Who this book is written for?

Scratch is a teaching language, so it's ideal for people who want to learn how to program or teach others how to program. Educators and parents will learn how to program using Scratch, so they can use Scratch to teach the latest learning skills to their students and children.

No previous computer programming knowledge is required. You only need to know how to perform basic tasks on a computer and this book will teach the rest. You can then use it as a platform to learn more advanced programming languages.

Parents, stuck with a child who wants to play video games all night? Make a new rule. He can only play a video game if he programs the game first.


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Scratch 1.4: Beginner's Guide + Super Scratch Programming Adventure!: Learn to Program By Making Cool Games
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Micheal Badger is a technical communicator with a history of helping others to use their computer software and technology. For fun, Michael reads computer books and blogs about technology. When he finally decides to disconnect, he spends his spare time fishing, growing pigs, raising honeybees, and tending the family. Michael also wrote Zenoss Core Network and System Monitoring, a step-by-step guide to configuring the open source IT monitoring software application.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Packt Publishing (July 17, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847196764
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847196767
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #825,511 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful for community volunteers teaching Scratch November 3, 2009
Format:Paperback
[...]
When personal computers first became popular in the 1980s, every school in the country taught computer programming to every student. That was a bad idea. Students should not be forced to learn computer programming. Programming can be immensely fun and engaging to those students who have a temperament for programming. For other students, programming can be dreary, dull, and mind-numbing. Forcing computer programming on such students can leave on them a lifelong bad taste about computers--something no educator ever wants to do.

So it was a good thing that schools shifted away from having every student learn computer programming. Unfortunately, they shifted too far in the opposite direction, offering very few programming classes and opportunities at the elementary and middle school levels.

The good people at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have stepped in to fill that void. A few years ago they created a free computer programming tool, Scratch, which appeals to a wide variety of students. You can use Scratch for digital storytelling, animations interactive games, and, yes, computer programming. Scratch is free download for Macintosh and Windows computers--and will be available for Linux sometime in the next year, too.

Scratch is excellent in many ways. Children take to it like a duck to water. Adults who want to encourage children to use Scratch need a guidebook to help them develop some skills using Scratch. This new guidebook by Michael Badger is just what the doctor ordered.

Here is what I like about this book. The book has lots of screenshots showing and explaining Scratch. Although Scratch is quite colorful on screen, all the screenshots in the book are in black and white.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Well-written Fun Introduction to Programming Scratch August 25, 2009
Format:Paperback
Michael Badger, is an experienced author and his experience definitely shines through. This book was a pleasure to read and Michael's humour kept me amused and entertained throughout. The exercises are well-crafted and well-paced, guiding the reader through a series of tasks that gradually introduce new programming concepts and Scratch features. The concept of bugs and debugging was beautifully illustrated through a soccer-ball-heading game that resulted in some unexpected behaviour and a challenge to the reader to figure out the problem and find a solution. As always, Michael provides the solution later on in the section with a full explanation. If, on occasions, I felt lost in an exercise, the confusion was quickly cleared up in the "What just happened" section that followed.

The production of this book is nearly flawless and the proof reading and editing team have done a fantastic job, although I'm not sure who was responsible for the little message at the bottom of page 99: "I learned how to use some additional markup tools in acrobat!." My money would be on the proof reader. Oops. The fact that that was the only error I could find worth pointing out is a testament to the quality of this work.

The frequent Pop quizzes are a good and, although for the most part, the questions are quite easy, on at least one occasion I would have liked a list of answers to check against rather than having to skim back over the text I had just read; but these are minor niggles and I'm sure Michael could easily put a list of answers on his [...] site.

Reading this book won't teach you how to write video games (at least not the sort I'm used to playing), but it is a great introduction to the world of programming and will give you the basic understanding you'll need to get started.
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3.0 out of 5 stars For very beginners September 3, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book for a college class (CS 10 at UC Berkeley) and barely even used it. I think its important to note that this book is for VERY VERY beginners. I had barely done any coding before this class (now I'm a CS major) and Scratch was quite easy to pick up. I'm not sure how necessary this book is...
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