Scratch 3.0 is Here!
4 Key Updates from Scratch 2.0
Is coding on your list of New Year’s resolutions? For MIT it is. On January 2nd, MIT released a major update to their Scratch coding program. We are excited to join in the celebration! But what does the new release mean for you? Here are 4 key updates you need to know! But first let’s make sure we’re all on the same page...
What is Scratch?
Scratch is a block-based visual coding language developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It is designed to introduce beginning coders to the logic of code. While it is primarily geared towards children with its whimsical characters, such as the iconic cat named Scratchy, Scratch has numerous interactive blocks that help more advanced students build out engaging games and challenges.
Key Updates Between Scratch 2.0 and Scratch 3.0
1. Mobile Friendly Interface
The biggest change from 2.0 to 3.0 is the interface change. Instead of the Scratch 2.0’s grey interface that had the stage on the left and the scripts area on the right, the new blue interface follows your natural inclination to work from left to right. The pallet is on the far left side with the scripts area in the middle. The stage is now on the right side and can be resized to provide more space to build scripts. This is important since the new update also increased the size of the blocks. All of these changes add up to a more tablet-friendly version of Scratch.
Scratch 2.0 Scratch 3.0
2. New Blocks for More Advanced Coding
The addition of new blocks enables more interactive and more in-depth programming. New blocks include “item # of [string] in [list]”, “[blank] contains [blank]?”, and “go to [front]”. These additions create a myriad of new ways for blocks to interact with each other.
3. Extensions for Partner Integrations
Scratch 3.0 adds a new category of blocks known as Extensions. These extensions integrate with other tools such as Google translate and video motion to bring additional levels of engagement to programs. For example, you can create a program that moves the sprite when you wave your hand in front of a camera. The LEGO Mindstorms integration allows you to program a robot built out of LEGO parts to move its arms and wheels and react to button sensors! The pen tool and music blocks have also been moved here.
4. Better Customization of Color and Audio
Scratch 3.0 brings new sound editing and color selection tools that gives you the ability to make your programs truly unique. Now you have more control over audio - trim it down or add sound effects! Additionally, the color selector used in sprite editing and pen color selection gives you the ability to more accurately choose the saturation and brightness of colors.
With the new update, many schools are scrambling to update their lessons to reflect the new Scratch platform. Below is a link to help you kick-start your update. It is a free lesson utilizing Scratch 3.0 to walk students through making a sprite move and draw a snowflake. This new lesson introduces students to Scratch 3.0 as well as utilizes the pen extension and teaches basic coding logic.