How I Use It
I have used it in an 8th grade science class to have students create animations about an element on the periodic table. The animated a Bohr diagram of their element and then created an animation to communicate the fact about their element. Given enough time, all students succeeded. The level of projects varied depending on student interest and patience. I have also used it in a High School Biology class to have students animate or illustrate a body system. Once students have learned Scratch, they have used it to present information on topics ranging from Math problems (developing a quiz) to levels of government. Scratch requires students to be willing to devote the time to figure out how things work or to troubleshoot a problem when things do not work. Students who are able to do this are successful with Scratch.
Scratch can be used for digital storytelling and game creation, to support academic content or it can be used to introduce coding as a technology skill. I have used it with 7-12 graders and all have found it engaging. Students must problem solve and troubleshoot to get their project to work. The sky is the limit as far as the amount of complexity that can be added. Support is built in through tutorials on the site or the array of published projects. Students can see an animation or game they like and then look at or even copy the code to see how it is done. They can remix a project to make it their own. I like the creativity and originality Scratch encourages. The library of backgrounds, sprites and sound effects is adequate, but students can also upload their own photos or sound effects, including adding voiceovers. During all of this, students are learning coding, logic and computational thinking.