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Super Scratch Programming Adventure!: Learn to Program By Making Cool Games Paperback – August 30, 2012
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An Excerpt from the Foreword
"Scratch is more than a piece of software. It is part of a broader educational mission. We designed Scratch to help young people prepare for life in today's fast-changing society. As young people create Scratch projects, they are not just learning how to write computer programs. They are learning to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively—essential skills for success and happiness in today's world.
As you read this book, let your imagination run wild. What will you create with Scratch?"
—Professor Mitchel Resnick, Director, MIT Scratch Team, MIT Media Lab
About the Author
The Learning through Engineering, Art, and Design (LEAD) Project is an educational initiative established to encourage the development of creative thinking through the use of technology. Created by The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups in collaboration with the MIT Media Lab, the LEAD project promotes hands-on, design-based activities to foster innovation, problem solving skills, and technical literacy.
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Top Customer Reviews
I have to say I was not impressed with the book when I first flipped through it. it seemed too simple. But I recalled that I learned when I was little from a game book too. But Holy cow! I was surprised when this went down as easy as a bowl of fruit loops. The kids think of programming as a game now and beg to get more programming time instead of their other video games. They write their own code for fun then and it's of course terrible in design-- then we sit together and try to think of a better design. perfect! So this book knows its audience better than I did. A great stand alone tool and a gateway drug for parental involvement in fun with learning.
The book's physical construction is nice too. It's sturdy since your little one is going to be bending this thing open while they refer to it during their coding. It has extended flaps on the front and back which can help it stay open and mark pages. and it's heavy weight glossy paper. There is a thread linking all the games as a series of cartoon adventures of a main character. It's pretty dopey but my kids loved it and eplained at length to me how the games fit the story. So again the authors new their readers. While as an adult I would have wanted more than 9 games this seemed to be just the right size as not to be intimidating. My kids competed a little for bragging rights on what level (chapter) they were on. If it had been longer that could have gotten out of hand with no chance to catch up. But this was just right. Now were's the next book???
I considered the following before discovering this book (via BoingBoing) - Alice (what, until recently, we used at my University); Mindstorms (modified LabVIEW); actual old-school command-line BASIC or similar ('cause that's what I speak). However, Alice spends way too much time in the uncanny valley, Mindstorms takes a while to debug (run, watch the robot hit a wall, troubleshoot, debug, run......), doesn't really get you to games and is also very abstract, and I wanted something he could do on his own without my help.
Enter Super Scratch - this language and this book are aimed precisely at kids who are out to create games. It's games from page 1, you can see the programmer's self-efficacy grow immediately. My son spun off on his own after lesson ~4, saying he 'sees how it works' now. He's still working his way through the book, but he's doing 'jazz' on top of the lessons. It's cool.
This is a good introduction to algorithmic thinking and common structures like "while" loops. An amusing by-product is that my son has said he prefers designing board-games now, as the instructions don't have to be as precise for humans as for machines. He gets it!
Yes, we could have used free online resources to learn Scratch, but having it laid out in a logical, appropriately paced, and non-distracting manner is a plus for the book over the Internet. Further, he enjoys the self-consciously cheesy story lines that frame the problems. That being said, I don't think I'd use this book with anyone over the age of 12 (at least until they're 20 and can appreciate irony better).
As it turns out, having begun reading the book on the PC, she requested the hardcopy to bring to Computing class at school as she doesn't want to have to waste time learning how to use the Kindle Fire just to read the book and she wouldn't be able to read the ebook on the school computer.. So for now we are reading it by PC, until the book arrives (and the Kindle Fire I ordered as well).
It is possible to download Scratch 1.0 and use the book, but the new version is so much better that that would be silly.
When he received this book he immediately dove right into it. Within about an hour he had Scratch set up on the family computer and created a very rudimentary game (a cat that shot fireballs at the enemy). Now, several weeks later, he has created some very nifty things. Moreover, his eight year old sister has also gotten into Scratch and is making her own games.
This book is a terrific entry into the Scratch community. There are numerous online resources, including user group support, that helps my kids when I'm not able. The community even allows users to upload their Scratch programs for user review and comment.
It's really a fantastic thing. I don't mean to gush but my kids have really latched onto Scratch.