Review - First Look Scratch 3 by Deepa Muralidhar
Muralidhar begins by discussing just what the Scratch app can do for you and how to create an account on the scratch.mit.edu website. Next, she discusses the improvements and new features in Scratch 3.0. Besides the new layout of the user interface, some new features include new and better support for sprites and background graphics and the new editors. She also discusses additions to the supporting scratch.mit.edu website, such as the new Ideas section, new projects and guides.
Muralidhar first discusses just what blocks are and how dragging and dropping these blocks in to your project is the way to add 'blocks of code' to your game, without writing any code. Next, she discusses the new editors.
Using an adventure game as an example, Muralidhar covers how to use the Costumes editor and the options such as Fill and Outline colors and Convert to Bipmap. Next, we have the Sounds editor. You can upload your own music file or choose a sound file from the library. The Sounds editor has controls for speed, volume and more.
Moving on, Muralidhar discusses the new custom blocks feature. You can create your own blocks and add parameters without any code. She also covers some of the most useful extensions that have been added to the library in Scratch 3.0, such as Text to Speech, Translate and Video Sensing.
Although this course was a nice introduction to the Scratch 3.0 new features, the author didn't demonstrate the new features in depth. It would have been nice if she had built a simple game using the new features. This would have put them in context with a real-world project. If you are totally new to Scratch, I would recommend starting with a more detailed introduction.
Deepa Muralidhar is a computer science educator with over 20 year experience. She not only teaches at Roswell High School in Georgia but also holds several positions at the national level. Muralidhar specializes in creating educational standards and course curriculum for computer science education.
Scratch is a project of the Scratch Foundation, in collaboration with the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab. It is available for free at https://scratch.mit.edu.
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