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Scratch 1.4: Beginner's Guide

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Scratch 1.4: Beginner's Guide, 9781847196767 (1847196764), Packt Publishing, 2009

If you have the imaginative power to design complex multimedia projects but can't adapt to programming languages, then Scratch 1.4: Beginner's Guide is the book for you. Imagine how good you'll feel when you drag-and-drop your way to interactive games, stories, graphic artwork, computer animations, and much more using Scratch even if you have never programmed before.

This book provides teachers, parents, and new programmers with a guided tour of Scratch's features by creating projects that can be shared, remixed, and improved upon in your own lesson plans. Soon you will be creating games, stories, and animations by snapping blocks of "code" together.

When you program you solve problems. In order to solve problems, you think, take action, and reflect upon your efforts. Scratch teaches you to program using a fun, accessible environment that's as easy as dragging and dropping blocks from one part of the screen to another.

In this book you will program games, stories, and animations using hands-on examples that get you thinking and tinkering. For each project, you start with a series of steps to build something. Then you pause to put our actions into context so that you can relate our code to the actions on Scratch's stage. Throughout each chapter, you'll encounter challenges that encourage you to experiment and learn.

One of the things you're really going to love is that, as you begin working through the examples in the book, you won't be able to stop your imagination and the ideas will stream as fast as you can think of them. Write them down. You'll quickly realize there are a lot of young minds in your home, classroom, or community group that could benefit from Scratch's friendly face. Teach them, please.

What you will learn from this book?

  • Design user interfaces, including sequence, characters, and controls.
  • Think critically and make decisions - based on need, program limitations and knowledge level.
  • Get to know the concepts of scratch programming such as loops, conditional statements, variables, arrays, Boolean logic, dynamic interaction, coordination, synchronization, threads, and event handling, and apply it later to other programming languages.
  • Develop a barnyard humor that let's you shine as a storyteller.
  • Debug problems in your design and code.
  • Revise your projects to fix problems and add functionality.
  • Collaborate with the Scratch community by remixing and sharing projects so that you can learn from each other.
  • Communicate with peers and students about the details of your projects.
  • Capture sound, light, touch, and resistance via an external PicoBoard and use it as input for your Scratch projects.

Approach

This is a Packt Beginners Guide, which means it focuses on practical examples and has a friendly approach, with the opportunity to learn by experiment and play. We work through the project tutorials one block of code at a time, and we periodically pause to reflect on the relationship between our code blocks, our project, and Scratch programming in general. As you work through the book, you are encouraged to experiment with the concepts presented. As each chapter in the book progresses, the topics get increasingly more complex.

Who this book is written for?

Scratch is a teaching language, so it's ideal for people who want to learn how to program or teach others how to program. Educators and parents will learn how to program using Scratch, so they can use Scratch to teach the latest learning skills to their students and children.

No previous computer programming knowledge is required. You only need to know how to perform basic tasks on a computer and this book will teach the rest. You can then use it as a platform to learn more advanced programming languages.

Parents, stuck with a child who wants to play video games all night? Make a new rule. He can only play a video game if he programs the game first.

About the Author

Micheal Badger is a technical communicator with a history of helping others to use their computer software and technology. For fun, Michael reads computer books and blogs about technology. When he finally decides to disconnect, he spends his spare time fishing, growing pigs, raising honeybees, and tending the family.

Michael also wrote Zenoss Core Network and System Monitoring, a step-by-step guide to configuring the open source IT monitoring software application.

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