We’ve been waiting several years for an update to Scratch, and this is the big one we’ve been hoping for! Scratch 1.4 was released in the mid-2009 and Scratch 2.0 will go live May 9, 2013. There are many reasons to be excited about this update:
- You can program directly in your web browser without requiring a download. This might not seem like a big deal, but allows for students to access their projects from any computer. It also means educators can quickly and easily introduce Scratch to a whole classroom without any setup.
- The ability to create your own blocks. This really means you can create functions with inputs, which is an important concept in programming. It also allows you to limit code reuse and keep your Scratch projects much more organized.
- Cloud variables to store information amongst all the people playing your game. One of the most common use cases of this will be to record the high score of everyone who has played the game, but there are many creative uses as well.
- Cloning sprites. This is the first step towards object-oriented programming, which is another crucial concept for programmers to learn. Essentially you make one blueprint of an object and you can make as many copies or clones of that object as you’d like.
Unfortunately there are several things I wish they did differently. First, the fact that it is a flash website means that you can’t program in Scratch 2.0 on an iPad. I also think there are some features in Tynker that Scratch should have. The good news is that the Scratch team will be able to make updates much more quickly now that it is in the browser. I look forward to them continuing to make improvements!
The Scratch website will be down for a couple days during the transition, but after May 9th, go over to scratch.mit.edu to see Scratch 2.0 in action!