Website review by Christy Matte, Common Sense Education | Updated June 2021

Scratch

Creative sandbox opens the door to coding in any subject area

Learning rating
Community rating
Based on 115 reviews
Privacy rating
47%| Warning Expert evaluation by Common Sense
Grades
2–12
Subjects & Skills
Math, Communication & Collaboration, Creativity, Critical Thinking

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1 video | 6 images

Pros: Massive community for resources and support, easily integrated in different subjects.

Cons: Doesn't offer the next step into text-based coding languages.

Bottom Line: Scratch draws students of all types into coding and lays a foundation for future learning.

Teachers can use Scratch to teach students coding concepts and elements of computational thinking. Once students are proficient in using it, Scratch can become another tool for demonstrating learning in other content areas. Through animation, audio, image, and text, students can tell stories, explain concepts, and create art and games. The Scratch platform can be another option for project-based assessments -- an alternative to writing, presentations, etc. For coding teachers, Scratch is a great springboard to traditional text-based coding languages like Ruby or Swift.   

Scratch has an expansive community of users and educators (from around the world, since Scratch supports dozens of languages). Because of this community, everyone from the complete novice to the seasoned expert can find tutorials, answers to questions, projects to remix, and, most important, inspiration to continue building their coding skills and finding new challenges.

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Scratch is a well-established block-based coding language created by MIT's Lifelong Kindergarten Group. It can be used online or downloaded and used without an internet connection. Like its predecessors, Scratch allows students to learn and put to use essential elements of coding and computer science. From creating variables to building functions, students snap drag-and-drop blocks of code together to create programs for animation, digital storytelling, art, math -- you name it. With Scratch, students can also program a variety of peripheral devices (like the micro:bit) for robotics, science, and engineering learning. Scratch programmers have extensions that allow them to include text-to-speech and language translation. Teachers can register for educator accounts that provide additional features, like the ability to create classes and add students, group student work by project, and moderate student activity. 

The Scratch screen is divided into three sections: the stage on the right side (where you see the results of your code in action), the workspace in the center (where you put the code together), and the blocks palette on the left (where you find all the code blocks). Students code the actions of multiple sprites (the different characters) or screen elements and can also add sounds, images, and textual elements to build almost anything.

 

Scratch is a powerful platform for learning to code not only because it teaches all the essential concepts of coding, but also because it can be easily integrated into almost any subject area. Students can tackle meaningful projects that express understanding of novels, historical events, and math and science concepts while also reinforcing coding and computational thinking skills. As a foundation for learning to code, Scratch removes the obstacles that beginners often find so difficult (syntax, terminology, etc.) but lays the groundwork for those who go on to learn languages like Java, Ruby, or Python. Providing even more of a bridge into the actual languages would help kids take that next step into more advanced programming.

Overall Rating

Engagement

Not every student wants to be a coder, but Scratch offers a range of entry points to coding so that just about any student will find something they like to use it for (e.g., storytelling, art, games, surveys, robotics, etc.).

Pedagogy

Scratch offers almost unlimited possibilities for teachers wanting to integrate coding with different subject areas. Its design supports learning through exploration, practice, play, and collaboration.

Support

Through the Scratch community, teachers and students can find a variety of lesson ideas and tutorials to help develop coding skills. Shared projects allow for remixing and give inspiration for new challenges.


Common Sense reviewer
Christy Matte Educator

Community Rating

(See all 115 reviews) (115 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Brooke B. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Such a fun app for coding!
My opinion is that this is a great teaching tool for young students learning how to code. I really liked Scratch Jr. for the coding app as well. It better serves my students and my teaching because they have to practice perseverance and a growth mindset to continue to build their codes and change them if they make mistakes.
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Data Safety
How safe is this product?
Unclear whether this product supports interactions between trusted users and/or students.
Personal information is displayed publicly.
User-created content is not filtered for personal information before being made publicly visible.
Data Rights
What rights do I have to the data?
Users can create or upload content.
Processes to access and review user data are available.
Processes to modify inaccurate data are available.
Ads & Tracking
Are there advertisements or tracking?
Unclear whether data are shared for third-party advertising and/or marketing.
Unclear whether this product displays traditional or contextual advertisements.
Unclear whether this product displays behavioral or targeted advertising.

Continue reading about this tool's privacy practices, including data collection, sharing, and security.

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