A Year 3 class at a UK primary school in Brighton was taught Scratch as part of the normal ICT program for an hour once a week in a computer lab backed up with an optional after school computer club. The lab was conveniently situated next to the classroom so ad hoc Scratch sessions were also held periodically. There were 23 children between 7 and 8 years old in the class and all of them enjoyed and looked forward to the sessions each Wednesday morning.
Children shared a computer and collaborated on projects. Initially pairs would complain that other children were copying their work until the teacher explained that sharing of knowledge and programming techniques was part of the process. All the projects were stored on the same computer drive and it was easy for the teacher to show particular solutions on the interactive whiteboard and to encourage children to share sprites and project solutions.
Both boys and girls liked Scratch although the boys were more drawn to creating games. Some of the pupils preferred the creative process of drawing and creating sprites and had to be encouraged to get on with the task of programming, but all completed their tasks. One pupil from Romania did not speak English well but was able to excel in the Scratch lessons and gained in confidence even though she was working on her own. Another pupil changed the language to Polish and was able to keep up with the rest of the class without problems. A special needs child with a permanent adult helper was able to work with the helper to create his projects and enjoyed the lessons so much that he attended extra computer club sessions after school with his mother.
The teacher made available a series of photographs of the local area taken as part of a field trip for a geography lesson and these were incorporated into Scratch projects by many of the pupils. The teacher is committed to using Scratch in the future and plans to personalise small applications using pictures and sounds created by the class. One example is a timer application that runs on the whiteboard and is personalised to show the photo of a random member of the class whilst counting down the minutes left for the class to complete a task.
All the children loved the Scratch sessions and the teacher found them useful. The teacher had to spend considerable effort preparing lesson plans for the ICT sessions and ensuring that she had the programming knowledge to keep up with some of the more advanced young programmers who were working on projects at home and downloading projects from the internet. Interest from the other teachers in the School is not high however and it seems unlikely that the other teachers in the school will want to adopt Scratch in the immediate future.