How I Use It
Though recommended for primary students, I use this app to introduce computer programming to 4th grade students during technology class. This app is very intuitive and easy-to-use. The app designers have also created a website to support teachers with video tutorials and ready-made lessons. I introduced students to the basic features of the app and set them loose to be creative. My class included a wide variety of learners, including one who is already programming Java and Python, and others who had never heard of computer programming. Not only was every student was successful in creating a program (scene), but they LOVED the app and frequently request to use the app more often. A language arts teacher and I are planning to use the app to illustrate (animate) original stories in an upcoming narrative writing unit.
Scratch Jr. is a wonderful tool for introducing computer programming to students. I've even used it with 8th grade students to introduce coding and gauging interest levels before starting them on regular Scratch or Codecademy. It can also be used to teach/reinforce sequencing in math or language classes. Scratch Jr. appealed equally to girls and boys and to creative and technical students. I attended a webinar with one of the app's creators and was impressed with the amount of thought and research that went into the app (a web-based version is coming). I anticipate that the app and the support materials will only continue to improve and expand, making Scratch Jr. a viable platform for developing/supporting an elementary coding curriculum.