It’s been a while Gentle Reader, and I’ve missed you. Since we last spoke I’ve come out of my local authority job and back into the classroom as Head of ICT and teacher of mathematics, two subjects I am passionate about and happy to share my enthusiasm.
Today’s Big Find came courtesy of the Computing at School mailing list, where Alan Stinchcombe gave the list a heads-up to a Scratch derivative called Enchanting. It interfaces with an NXT brick and allows the user to program in Scratch, running programs on the brick. What fun. Already today me and the Boy have created a steerable buggy and a theremin and it’s only been installed for an hour or so. It’s been great watching the Boy flipping between modes of finding solutions, judging whether he needs to alter the software or the hardware to accommodate a change in configuration. Watching his thought processes take shape in the rapid development of alternative solutions has been amazing.
And there’s the Really Useful thing about it IMHO. Enchanting is derived from BYOB, a derivative of Scratch that extended it’s usefulness by allowing programmers to build their own blocks so that they can rise above the English NC Level 5 and start using efficiency in the guise of reusable code. So from initial forays into Scratch, a young learner can progress with the same interface and environment to develop more complex programming structures and computational thinking which can be transferred to other situations and languages.
I think that’s a Good Thing.