Christopher Michaud, Nebo Elementary was the facilitator of a hands on laptop session where we installed a program out of MIT called Scratch. According to Michaud,
"Scratch was developed by MIT to teach young students programming concepts and skill in multimedia communication. Using a visual system of "Tiles" that contain commands users can connect together to create scripts. These scripts direct the characters and objects in the program."
In one hour we created an animated game with sound in the form of a simple animated dog working his way through a maze and getting reward of food and barking when he makes it to the end. While this was a simple application - it required a significant amount of logical sequential, cause and effect thinking. Students will learn problem solving, project design skills and Scratch provides a way to teach fundamental ideas around technology and programming. Computer Science skills students will learn are sequencing, iteration, threading, variables, boolean logic, variables, conditions, algorithms and random numbers.
Scratch is a free download from the MIT site (hard wired suggested) at www.scratch.mit.edu.