I have now finished four out of 10 units in Harvey Mudd’s Programming in Scratch course on edX. I think I’ve done enough to recommend it to libraries and schools looking to teach the basics of programming for all ages. A combination of quick results and repetition of key concepts seems like it will be helpful to most people. While programs written in Scratch aren’t something you can easily run elsewhere, the way of thinking taught by programming in Scratch should be transferable to other languages. And it does allow for the creation of an online portfolio.
Week 4 was “Coordinates and Conditionals” where we learned a lot about if then statements and things we could when objects touched each other. It is part of what I need to know to construct a successful jigsaw puzzle.
To show that we understood the concepts behind the lessons, we had to code a game of tag. It’s not stellar because both characters are controlled by the same keyboard. But it does have some nice teleportation effects.
I don’t know if I’ll come back to this without the courseware asking me too, but if I did, I would automate the cat’s movements. I did something similar in my edX CS50x project laser toy. The “laser toy” motion solution won’t work in this program because in “laser toy” the cat’s motion was controlled by the position of the toy. I need something to move the cat randomly while you try to tag him with the ball.
One of the other things I like about the course is that a number of the class assignments do make me think about coming back and extending them. That’s better than assignments that leave you feeling like “Thank God it’s done! Never want to go back to it again!” Colleen Lewis’ approach makes you want to do more. I think this is great.