Say Yes to Scratch

by Hamnah Mistry on September 12, 2017

The Binary Story is one of our new initiatives and we are proud to introduce our girls to a skill which has immense potential. Understanding basic computer skills and programming leads to better logical and systematic reasoning, clearer communication, more creative thinking and better collaborative working. Through the support of volunteers and a world-class software package – Scratch – the girls also learn mathematical concepts, computer commands and new vocabulary. We believe learning to program – a skill that even many of their peers from more expensive schools do not possess – will offer them tangible benefits as well as the confidence and interest in innovation which will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Scratch is a programming language designed and maintained by the Life Long Kindergarten group at MIT Media Labs. This program is available for free to teach computer coding to children between the age group of 8 to 16 years. We have collaborated with Softklas who have curated a basic curriculum on computer coding for children using Scratch as a platform.

Till now, 10 learning sessions have been conducted on a fortnightly basis for the girls along with practice sessions every alternative day. An assessment session was conducted on the 4th learning session (February 2017). Since all our girls come from Marathi and Hindi medium government schools, English language has been a major obstacle for them. These girls also had zero exposure to computer systems which created a lot of difficulty for them, especially in terms of grasping concepts. The results of the first assessment session helped to map out the exact areas where the girls needed more support. The second assessment session highlighted multiple improvements among the girls. The girls not only have an increased clarity in concepts but there is a remarkable development in their personalities as well. Even though the process of improvement has been slow over the pilot phase, the results have been brilliant. From literally not knowing anything about computers, after a couple of months, the girls have not only learnt the basics of Scratch programming but also can now also replicate coding scripts and videos. There is a sense of ownership among them for what they are doing and level of interests have soared up multiple levels.

They appeared for their final assessment in July 2017 with regular practice sessions and then after further fine tuning, they are going to be taught a relatively advanced version of the basic version of Scratch curriculum. While they prepare to prove their mettle for the next level, each one of them seek your support and involvement!