Testing Scratch 3.0 with children at Andoversford Primary School

Scratch 3.0 has landed, and the pupils at Andoversford Primary School in Gloucestershire have been testing it out with their volunteer Laura Sach, who’s one of the educators at Raspberry Pi .

With the arrival of Scratch 3.0 comes the option to use the much-loved programming tool on a tablet. At Andoversford Primary School Code Club, the children helped us test out our updated Code Club projects on the school’s bank of iPads. The club normally uses laptops, but last term’s participants worked through the Code Club Scratch module 1 using the beta version of Scratch 3.0 on iPads, and they gave us their feedback.

“As someone without a background in tech, I found the new interface much easier to use, and found myself coding alongside the pupils.”
– Rachel Bradley-McKay, Head Teacher

Why Andoversford Primary School accepted the challenge

Head Teacher Rachel Bradley-McKay who runs the Code Club told us: “We decided to trial the beta version of Scratch 3 as our iPads are often more reliable than the laptops in school. Plus, the children were thrilled to be involved at this test stage!”

The testing went really well

The children had no trouble finding the Scratch 3.0 code blocks and tools they needed — even the ones that have moved or look slightly different to their Scratch 2.0 counterparts.

“I have been really impressed with how the children have been able to develop their problem solving skills, adapting project instructions to suit the new platform.”
– Rachel Bradley-McKay, Head Teacher

Code Club volunteer Laura said: “The children have really enjoyed using Scratch 3 on the iPad, and our projects now certainly contain more roars and ghostly howls recorded by the children themselves! They have found the interface changes very straightforward to get to grips with, and they can’t wait to tackle more of the projects next term.”

The children loved it

We had some really positive and enthusiastic feedback from the children:

  • “I think that Scratch 3 is a lot easier on the iPads, and it is a lot quicker.” – Jake
  • “The new Scratch has improved a lot compared to Scratch 2 — I really enjoyed testing it. I also found it much easier to use. I think Scratch 3 is amazing!” –Chris
  • “Scratch 3 on the iPads is so much easier — the sprites are infinitely better, and it is much more advanced while being easier to use.” – Elliott

Laura’s top tips for using Scratch 3.0 on tablets

  • Make sure you’ve installed the latest updates on your tablets before you start.
  • The Scratch 3.0 interface looks a little different: you will now find the Stage to the right-hand side. Print out our free guide to the new interface and put it up in your club space.
  • Remember e-safety! Tablets make it very easy to take pictures and record your voice to make an extra cool project, but make sure the children aren’t giving away personal information.
  • If you have iPad minis, use them in landscape mode to fit everything you need onto the small screen.

Try it out for yourself today

We’ve updated all the free Code Club Scratch projects to make them compatible to Scratch 3.0 — you’ll find them on our projects page. Why not try one out on a tablet and share your creation with us via Twitter or Facebook? We’d love to see what you make!

Adamsdown Primary School Code Club: fun, dedicated and ambitious

Adamsdown Primary School in Cardiff, Wales, launched a Code Club two years ago, for Year 6 pupils. Teacher Jessica Davies describes the club’s team of volunteers as fun, dedicated, and ambitious — so much so that they will be setting up a second Code Club for Year 5 pupils this year.

Practising classroom skills at Code Club

The children at Adamsdown get introduced to Scratch as part of the school’s IT scheme of work. Jessica knows that some children who attend the Code Club don’t have access to computers or the internet outside of school, so for them, the club is especially important.

Code Club provides a great opportunity for the children to build on their learning and explore new projects outside of the curriculum.

We chatted to Jessica about coding at Adamsdown, and about her advice for running a successful Code Club.

Tell us more about your Code Club

Jessica Davies: Our Code Club runs every Monday in the school’s IT suite for Year 6 pupils. The talented Jamie Wiseman helps to run the club. Jamie is also parent governor and works on websites for a living; he enjoys sharing his wealth of skills.

The club is very relaxed, and the children are at ease with each other and the Code Club volunteers. Our Code Club members have the opportunity to work at their own pace and on projects that interest them. The children are all at different levels of coding, some use Scratch or HTML/CSS projects, and others are experimenting with micro:bits.

Can you share one Code Club highlight with us?

JD: One of the the best things I will remember from Code Club is a pupil who left for high school and returned the next September to support new club members! She is a fantastic coder, and this is a beautiful example of a pupil who has extended her learning to help others.

What advice would you give someone setting up a Code Club?

JD: Have a play with Scratch, follow the projects that Code Club provides, and get to know the basics.

I picked things up as I went along and learned from the children — don’t be afraid of this: learn with them and let them teach you!

Allow the children some freedom: let them play Scratch games and investigate the code alongside. The projects are fantastic to build skills, and once the children have the concept, they like to take things in their own direction.

When the group is working on similar projects, pit-stop and share good practice with each other. The children will collaborate almost automatically once they start working on projects.

Get involved!

If you’re a teacher and would like to start a Code Club in your school, you can get started today by registering on our website. And if, like Adamsdown Primary School, you are based in Wales, you can access our projects and resources in Welsh!

Code Club close-up: Leeds Central Library

Leeds Central Library has hosted a Code Club since June 2015. Children’s Librarian and club organiser Rachel Ingle-Teare tells us about what makes her library unique as a venue, how the club has grown and changed since it started, and what her plans for the future are.

Rachel took over coordinating the Leeds Central Library Code Club with her colleague Andy in 2016. Her long-standing fascination with coding had previously led her to volunteer at family-oriented digital and coding events, and to create STEAM-based tinkering sessions linked to library themes.

Story-inspired coding

Her ambition for the library Code Club was to create an informal, open space, away from educational settings, where volunteers could help club members develop a love of lifelong learning. It was therefore essential that the children attending the club found coding fun.

To achieve this, Rachel drew inspiration from children’s literature:

“Being able to offer library-themed projects is what makes us unique. We had a Harry Potter exhibition that included artefacts, ancient books, and interactive exhibits. The Code Club coded a micro:bit to act as a Sorting Hat that flashed the colour of the Hogwarts houses when the person pushed a button. Visitors loved this element, and we received lots of great feedback.”

Growing attendance

This emphasis on connecting the children’s projects to the library has paid off. Since taking over the club, Rachel has seen regular attendance increase tenfold!

“We have gone from 1 or 2 children attending regularly to 15 to 20, with a ratio of about 1:4 girls to boys. The ages vary; the youngest member is around 5 and the oldest is 14. I sometimes get our Cubetto out for the very young ones. It’s a real family-friendly club, and it is always wonderful having the parents engaged in their child’s projects and seeing them work together.”

Building technical and soft skills

Club members also have the option of loaning micro:bits from the library, which allows families to take projects home with them to explore coding in more detail. The micro:bits have proven immensely popular with children and volunteers alike:

“I really enjoy the micro:bits. It’s great for the children to see something working in a tangible way once they have coded it. We’ve enjoyed doing lots of different electronics projects with them. One of our volunteers, Viktor, specialised in electronics at Leeds University, and he brings a wealth of knowledge with him.”

As attendance numbers have increased, club members have become able to collaborate more. This has not only helps young people of different abilities to progress through their projects, but it also lets them develop vital life skills that will benefit them:

“What I’ve been really impressed by is not just the coding skills the young people are building, but also social and team working skills, as well as creative problem-solving approaches. Peer-to-peer learning increases their confidence, and the clubs provide a space to try out ideas, make mistakes, and learn from one another, outside of school.”

The future for Leeds Central Library

As for the future of the Code Club at Leeds Central Library, Rachel has big plans:

“In the future we hope to see the clubs develop with our Librarians, attendees, and mentors, so that we can apply for Coolest Projects and host show-and-tells city-wide.”

Find out more about starting a Code Club or volunteering at a club in your local community at codeclub.org.