The MIT Media Lab’s Lifelong Kindergarten Group has shipped version 2.0 of Scratch, the justly famed and much-loved programming language for kids. Scratch makes it easy to create powerful simulations and games, even for small kids (basically, if you can read, you’re ready for Scratch). The new version of Scratch runs right in a browser (no downloads or installs required), and is remarkable in its polish and power to excite. The programming environment is embedded in a sharing and shareable community, with millions of Scratch projects ready to be downloaded and remixed. It’s just amazing.
There’s a new bot and you likely have his brain in your pocket. His name is Romo and he was created by a Las Vegas-based startup called Romotive. Romo uses the computing power of iOS devices as his brain.
Drawnimal is essentially an alphabet game in which each letter pulls up an associated animal but with a twist.
Players are asked to place the iPad on a blank piece of paper. With a pencil in-hand, they’re instructed to draw a somewhat anonymous shape around the iPad screen (Is that a tail? Are those ears?). And only when the drawing is finished do they see an on-screen portrait to complete the drawn picture, a green cartoon face coupled with a warm, grandfatherly voice that confirms, yes, the “A” really is for alligator.
Traditionally teachers have gauged whether students are learning by either asking them (“Do you understand, class?”), or testing them. Both methods have drawbacks. Kids who haven’t understood often don’t say so, for fear of looking stupid. And testing is after-the-fact: It only tells you something when class has been and gone.
Geddit is a simple, real-time system to help teachers work out who’s behind (and in front), and a way for students to communicate confidentially without having to put their hand in the air.