I've been working through some more online classes recently, thanks to the awesome curriculum from the Open Source Society, and am finally taking a class where I'm learning some C!
Already I'm making cool parallels to other languages I work in every day, but that is for another post. Instead I want to talk about Scratch!
I started Harvard's CS50, which admittedly I've been speeding through a bit since a lot of it is a refresher (until we get to C that is), but I still made time to do the exercise in Scratch for the first week of the course and was pleasantly surprised!
Scratch takes all of the normal conventions you'd expect in a coding language and puts them into categories and puzzle blocks for anyone to easily understand what they are doing. I thought web development was great because of the short feedback loop, but Scratch blows it out of the water!
Add on the fact that you're interacting with sprites, sounds, and can easily make interactive games and animations, and I think anyone can get hooked on programming with this tool. If anyone comes to me wanting to get started, I think Scratch is a great place to experiment, even if you're older than the target demographic.
I had a lot of fun creating a little Halloween greeting. Sure it's nothing fancy, and I could create something better in After Effects, but I programmed all of it instead, which just has a satisfying feeling.
Again, not going to earn me any rewards, but the fact that I could sit down for an hour, having never used the program before, and even create that is pretty cool.
Kudos to MIT for thinking outside the box with CS education and giving people a nice onramp to learning to code. You should definitely check it out, whatever your programming experience. I'd love to see what you make!