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PBS KIDS ScratchJr Camp

scratchjr and pbs kids graphics (dot and dash holding Scratch game pieces)

WFSU Hosts 1st PBS Kids ScratchJr. App Camp at Riley Elementary 2016

This camp uses PBS Kids ScratchJr, an introductory programming language app inspired by the popular Scratch program, used by millions of young people around the world. The folks at SratchJr. joined with PBS Kids to design features that match their overall growth. By redesigning the programming language, they made the process developmentally appropriate for younger children.

During the PBS Kids ScratchJr camp, young people can create their own digital animations, comic book style stories and basic games. They can even feature their favorite characters from shows like Wild Kratts, Nature Cat, WordGirl and Peg + Cat and more. As young children code with PBS Kids ScratchJr, they learn how to express themselves with technology, not just to interact with it. In the process, children learn to solve problems and design projects. They also develop sequencing skills that are important for later academic success. They also use math and language in a motivating context, supporting the development of early-childhood numeracy and literacy.

With PBS Kids ScratchJr, children aren’t just learning to code, they’re coding to learn. If you are interested in partnering with us to share this camp with your group, let us know.

2016 WFSU PBS KIDS ScratchJr Camp at Riley Elementary

(21st CCLC Summer Program)

For two weeks in July (2017), the media center at Riley Elementary was transformed into a high tech laboratory. Over 30 children from age 5 to 12 harnessed their creativity and logic thinking skills to create digital, animated stories.

Using the PBS KIDS ScratchJr app, children manipulate the colorful programming blocks which allow them to create sequences of actions that cause characters to animate and interact in exciting ways. For instance, kids can program with beloved PBS KIDS characters, create unique animations, and even add sounds and give voice to projects. The camp was led by Leon County schools Felisha Williams, the new Title 1 District Math Coordinator, and assisted by Kelley Duda, Advanced Placement Faculty at Rickards High School.

2018 WFSU & ME Video Featuring Apalachee Elementary Teacher Roshanna Beard using ScratchJr. in the Classroom

The PBS KIDS ScratchJr App

PBS KIDS launched PBS KIDS ScratchJr, a free app developed in collaboration with the MIT Media Lab and Tufts University’s Developmental Technologies Research Group. Available now on iPad and Android tablets, PBS KIDS ScratchJr helps children ages 5 to 8 learn core coding concepts. As a result, they create their own interactive stories using PBS KIDS characters.

PBS KIDS ScratchJr incorporates PBS KIDS media properties, including WILD KRATTS, WORDGIRL, PEG + CAT and the new series NATURE CAT. Kids snap together colorful programming blocks to make their favorite characters jump, dance and sing. At the same time, they will express themselves creatively by solving problems and designing projects.

“PBS KIDS ScratchJr uses the power of technology to help children learn,” said Sara DeWitt, Vice President, PBS KIDS Digital. “The PBS KIDS ScratchJr App puts kids in the driver’s seat, where they express themselves through storytelling. While kids are playing with their favorite characters, they are also exploring the basics of coding, an important 21st-century literacy.”

Along with the launch of the app, WFSU was awarded a special grant from PBS KIDS and Verizon. With this grant, they piloted a PBS KIDS ScratchJr Summer Camp Program and a Professional Development Workshop for teachers. Find more activities through PBS LearningMedia in conjunction with Computer Science Education Week and the Hour of Code.

Learn more about PBS KIDS ScratchJr.

WFSU PBS KIDS ScratchJr Professional Development Training

This professional development training taught dozens of teachers about the potential of using the PBS KIDS ScratchJr app in their classrooms or for extracurricular learning. The same training is available for your school as well.

For more information, please email the WFSU education staff to schedule today! Contact tweinstein@fsu.edu.

WFSU PBS KIDS Family Creative Learning

“We see coding as a new way for people to organize, express and share their ideas,”said Mitchel Resnick, LEGO Papert Professor of Learning Research and Director of the Scratch Team at the MIT Media Lab. “Coding is not just a set of technical skills, but a new type of literacy and personal expression, valuable for everyone, much like learning to write.”

WFSU selected schools and locations during the 2016-17 school year to host the new PBS KIDS Family Creative Learning. This special program is a series of workshops that engage families in a project-based creative process using the free coding app: PBS KIDS ScratchJr. Families with children ages 5 to 8 (and siblings) can use creative play to learn about exciting tools. They can use these functions to develop computation and engineering knowledge and practices as they imagine, plan, and design their own child-led projects. In short, the series aims to foster collaboration and problem-solving skills among family members. But they also work to empower them in expressing themselves with technology.

The model is inspired by and built upon a model developed by Ricarose Roque at the MIT Media Lab.

PBS KIDS ScratchJr is now available for free from the App Store on iPad and from the Google Play store on Android tablet. More information on PBS KIDS apps is available at pbskids.org/apps.