Moor
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Re: After Scratch, what's next?

Fri May 04, 2012 1:43 am

I have cousins, who I'm trying to get to program more. They've worked on Scratch, and are hitting at the limits of it. So I was wondering -- what's next?

Well, not exactly. I pointed them at (and helped them download, but didn't get much done after that) Python and Pygame, and hopefully they'll take to it.

But the problem is (or, might be, I suppose, given that I don't know yet how well they're taking to Pygame), that's not really the best for them.

They really like doing the art, as much as the programming and making games. And Pygame... you import the art to. You do the art, and you do the game, and they're pretty separate things until you finish them and put them together.

Is there something -- like Scratch, but easier to do... you know, actual stuff on -- that I could suggest?

I suppose Flash probably fits basically everything I've said, but that costs. And I know, that quite possibly could sound like "Oh, I don't want to pay for anything, I want everything for free", but -- and this is going past my cousins now -- that's really not exactly a good "next step" from Scratch. I mean, a kid going from Scratch is a kid wanting a better version of a toy. It's a great toy, better for kids than most other toys out there, but for the kid -- and more importantly, for the parent -- it's a toy.

And you can't exactly say "I'm getting a bit old for this toy, mom -- can I get a $699 better one?" Flash is for People Who Know What They're Doing (TM). Professionals.

Not just kids who liked Scratch.

Is there anything for them? Like Scratch, but easier to type stuff in? Like Flash, but not so expensive, not so serious? Something that's a next step. Something so that after you hit the "I can't do anything with drag-and-drop!" ceiling, there's another floor to go to.

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scep
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Re: After Scratch, what's next?

Fri May 04, 2012 6:19 am

the first things that spring to mind are:

BYOB (Build your own blocks in SCratch)

Greenfoot - simplified Java IDE (2D graphical environment), specifically designed for teaching and learning with shared user area and resources online

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cheery
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Re: After Scratch, what's next?

Fri May 04, 2012 7:19 am

I sorely feel this middle-ground you're asking does not exist.

Maybe I can help on this though.. I'll try come up with something that could help your cousins to get along with Pygame.

Moor
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Re: After Scratch, what's next?

Fri May 04, 2012 7:28 am

Okay, having looked at BYOB...

That's not what I'm looking for. The limitation of Scratch isn't that there's only a certain amount of things you can do -- the ceiling in Scratch is the blocks themselves.

Dragging blocks is great -- it lets you see what gives what, and how things fit together, what can go in where... Plus, it's really fun to see them snap.

It's also really slow. In scratch, one thing I tried to do was make a colo(u)r matrix, where each cell averaged it's adjacent cell's colo(u)rs. It took me somewhere near a half an hour to just set up one block. I was frustrated by the end. That's where the ceiling is: not at the limit of what the blocks can do, but what I can do with blocks.

Ooh! Greenfoot looks, a whole lot closer. (Although, I kinda wish it were Python*, 'cause I like Python better, but I'm not a professional programming, and barely a learner, so no judgement being here. They'll like it better, though. They're Minecraft fans. "Ooh! You're taking Java? Can you make a Minecraft mod?")

Is there anything where the drawing is part of it, though? Where, instead of importing the image, you can draw it in the program? Where you can see where everything is when you're programming it?

*The major thing that I think Python has over Java in terms of learning, is it's a lot easier to simply test to see if something works in Python, without having to go through "comment out everything in main(), put it in, try it... But that's just me being me and lazy.

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scep
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Re: After Scratch, what's next?

Fri May 04, 2012 7:30 am

cheery said:


I sorely feel this middle-ground you're asking does not exist.


I'd argue that Greenfoot is precisely this middle-ground!

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scep
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Re: After Scratch, what's next?

Fri May 04, 2012 7:38 am

Moor said:

Is there anything where the drawing is part of it, though? Where, instead of importing the image, you can draw it in the program? Where you can see where everything is when you're programming it?
No, but they could build their own paint application in it! In-line editors are useful but ultimately limited I think - if your cousins are into graphics it might actually be better to use a purpose built software?  Just a matter of saving into the greenfoot graphics folder.


*The major thing that I think Python has over Java in terms of learning, is it's a lot easier to simply test to see if something works in Python, without having to go through "comment out everything in main(), put it in, try it... But that's just me being me and lazy.


Greenfoot hides a lot of this stuff until you are ready for it.

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rurwin
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Re: After Scratch, what's next?

Fri May 04, 2012 8:16 am

Alice

It's Java based again. Moves from the 2D world of Scratch to a 3D world. The same jigsaw methodology at first, but you can progress to writing in Java. Still no art as such, but you get to move cameras around, so there is an artistic input beyond Scratch's dancing cats.

Blender

Maybe not right now, as the UI is pretty complex, but Blender comes with its own game engine scripted in Python. So this is a solution for art and scripting combined. I haven't used it at all, but I assume it would not be child-friendly.

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scep
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Re: After Scratch, what's next?

Sat May 05, 2012 9:10 am

moved to Educational and bumped...

Lakes
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Re: After Scratch, what's next?

Sat May 05, 2012 10:02 am

If your looking for Freeware alternatives to Adobe Flash

http://alternativeto.net/softw.....obe-flash/

totierne
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Re: After Scratch, what's next?

Sun May 06, 2012 10:37 am

Hi,

Greenfoot sounds good.

What about Javascript&html5?

There is a lot of material on javascript I just do not know where information/links will be gathered/(re)packaged for the raspberry pi audience:  (young(my son is 6 in August)/educational/commercially relevant).

Regards,

Turloch

Lakes
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Re: After Scratch, what's next?

Sun May 06, 2012 1:51 pm

Anyone tried Processing on th Pi yet?

goatsoup
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Re: After Scratch, what's next?

Mon May 07, 2012 6:05 pm

How about Stencyl?

I've mentioned it before on the forums.  It is similar to Scratch but is more powerful (more blocks) but more importantly you can create your own blocks by writing code.

It has a built in image editor, physics engine, a built-in community for sharing sprites and code...

Have a look and see what you think.

It is free and exports to Flash (or iOS with a subscription).  In the future it will do HTML5 and Android.

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Mike Lake
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Re: After Scratch, what's next?

Tue May 08, 2012 4:55 pm

Just a dumb question from someone who has been in this computer lark for over 40 years and who has seen the wheel of education go round several times.

Does everything have to be free?

When someone from the world of Windows (yes, I am a founder member of the "I hate Microsoft" club – over the years it has cost me millions to program round Microsoft's "unpublished features" i.e. bugs)  takes one look at Linux they run a mile.  They are not old enough to remember the days of command line prompts and "switch it off and on again, it will sort itself out."  One of the first things I did with micros was to fit a reset switch to a Commodore PET!

By the time they have connected their wireless mouse to their RPI and found that it kills their USB connection (or the other way round) or they have plugged something in that says "Linux" on the box and it doesn’t work (like a WiFi dongle – which is a word I co-invented by the way), they will get depressed.  "Don't worry," we say, "just go to the command prompt and type in this string of (meaningless to them) characters and it will download the latest driver – maybe."

Let"s face it, unless it is a product with top quality support (like a major University as is the case with Scratch) then the "free" world can be a bit of a mess and a bit scary.  Some is brilliant, much "leaves a little to be desired" – especially in the area of documentation.

I would LOVE to commission a middleware programming system for schools that would move on from Scratch and end up with full blown Python at the end of it.  I think Greenfoot is too scary at this level – but, like all languages, it doesn't look scary to those who use it.

I have spoken to teachers (I was one earlier in my career!) and I think I know what we need to move on from Scratch with stuff forming a coherent whole but pitched at different levels for different abilities and different age groups.

Trouble is, it would costs a serious amount of money to develop – which I would be happy to invest.  I have superb staff and they all expect to get paid.  I would be unhappy with them using their talents out of working hours for free – after all, there is only so much a human brain can do in one day and I am paying them to use that brain power for commercial stuff (at the moment.)

Software costs money – unless it is being done by those funded by us as taxpayers in Universities or on benefits.

If it costs money one wants to recover that investment – seems reasonable to me – but then I have been in business for over 30 years.

So, does it have to be free?  Would a "reasonable price" (to be defined) be OK – or is it out of the question?  (Assuming it was a really good product.)

Just asking.
Life's single regret: not patenting dongles when we invented and named them to protect the Wordcraft word processor on the Commodore PET!

You can buy 31 RPi3s for the £639 price of one Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge smart phone - who buys this stuff?

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Forrrge
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Re: After Scratch, what's next?

Tue May 08, 2012 9:37 pm

I'd never heard of Stencyl before and looks to be a great way to move from the simpler click together approach into proper programming. The question is though will it work on RPi ?

I'll certainly be taking a look on this on my PC though.

waimate01
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Re: After Scratch, what's next?

Tue Nov 04, 2014 9:42 pm

Have a look at http://s2js.com

It's specifically for kids who need to move beyond Scratch, and it provides a path to Javascript and the HTML canvas, presented in a way that references their Scratch knowledge.

It shows Scratch examples, and then shows how to achieve similar things in Javascript, always with the goal of writing cool games that can run directly on their friends smartphones (unlike, for example, Python and pygame).

S2JS includes a self-paced tutorial, as well as a development environment where they can write (and host) their own programs and share them.

It's early days, but I'm keen to receive feedback.

danielf
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Re: After Scratch, what's next?

Sat Nov 15, 2014 6:20 pm

Mike Lake wrote:Just a dumb question from someone who has been in this computer lark for over 40 years and who has seen the wheel of education go round several times.

Does everything have to be free?

When someone from the world of Windows (yes, I am a founder member of the "I hate Microsoft" club – over the years it has cost me millions to program round Microsoft's "unpublished features" i.e. bugs)  takes one look at Linux they run a mile.  They are not old enough to remember the days of command line prompts and "switch it off and on again, it will sort itself out."  One of the first things I did with micros was to fit a reset switch to a Commodore PET!

By the time they have connected their wireless mouse to their RPI and found that it kills their USB connection (or the other way round) or they have plugged something in that says "Linux" on the box and it doesn’t work (like a WiFi dongle – which is a word I co-invented by the way), they will get depressed.  "Don't worry," we say, "just go to the command prompt and type in this string of (meaningless to them) characters and it will download the latest driver – maybe."

Let"s face it, unless it is a product with top quality support (like a major University as is the case with Scratch) then the "free" world can be a bit of a mess and a bit scary.  Some is brilliant, much "leaves a little to be desired" – especially in the area of documentation.

I would LOVE to commission a middleware programming system for schools that would move on from Scratch and end up with full blown Python at the end of it.  I think Greenfoot is too scary at this level – but, like all languages, it doesn't look scary to those who use it.

I have spoken to teachers (I was one earlier in my career!) and I think I know what we need to move on from Scratch with stuff forming a coherent whole but pitched at different levels for different abilities and different age groups.

Trouble is, it would costs a serious amount of money to develop – which I would be happy to invest.  I have superb staff and they all expect to get paid.  I would be unhappy with them using their talents out of working hours for free – after all, there is only so much a human brain can do in one day and I am paying them to use that brain power for commercial stuff (at the moment.)

Software costs money – unless it is being done by those funded by us as taxpayers in Universities or on benefits.

If it costs money one wants to recover that investment – seems reasonable to me – but then I have been in business for over 30 years.

So, does it have to be free?  Would a "reasonable price" (to be defined) be OK – or is it out of the question?  (Assuming it was a really good product.)

Just asking.
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Re: After Scratch, what's next?

Mon Nov 17, 2014 9:45 pm

So, does it have to be free?
So many good educational languages are free that a paid for one would struggle to be widely adopted.
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rurwin
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Re: After Scratch, what's next?

Tue Nov 25, 2014 9:51 am

And free doesn't require purchase requisitions signed in triplicate, sent in, sent back, queried, lost, found, subject to public inquiry, lost again, buried in soft peat for three years and recycled as fire-lighters.

And with Linux, having the source-code means much better chances of installing it on computers with varying Linux distributions and versions. Supplying the source code implies that you'd have a hard time monetising it.

You do realise that the post the last two comments (three now) are replying to is over two years old?

It's an interesting and still applicable topic though.

timrowledge
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Re: After Scratch, what's next?

Tue Dec 02, 2014 7:11 pm

Consider investigating eToys.
http://www.squeakland.org/

It's written in the same base language as Scratch, which means it runs on pretty much any computer. It's well supported as an educational tool. And since the underlying Squeak engine for the Pi is getting faster and faster as I get to develop it in support of Scratch, eToys will get faster too.
Oh, and yes, it's free.
Making Smalltalk on ARM since 1986; making your Scratch better since 2012

evgeny123
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Re: After Scratch, what's next?

Fri Sep 23, 2016 7:45 pm

Try JavaScript - it's a real text-based and widely used language. Runs everywhere (desktop, mobile in browser and you can even build webapps using Node.js). You can make simple games at http://www.scriptacademy.net/ - it's free.

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bensimmo
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Re: After Scratch, what's next?

Sat Sep 24, 2016 10:02 am

GameMaker if it's games they like. Takes Scratch game making to the next level, my son moved over pretty quickly. You can get down and dirty with some code if needed.
Graphics are import in, but then they should get used to some proper art applications if needed or find Apps to do it for them in a fun way.

Unfortunately I think you've just missed out on the Humble Bundle for getting it for almost free, it'll be on again though at some point in the next year or so.
We got the one about a year ago and he moved up from the free version once he found his way around.


As for using it on Raspian/Pi no idea. But maybe it's time to move to something bigger and more powerful if speed is getting you down?

Is there a Visual Python?

ejolson
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Re: After Scratch, what's next?

Sun Sep 25, 2016 11:05 pm

bensimmo wrote:GameMaker if it's games they like. Takes Scratch game making to the next level, my son moved over pretty quickly.
It is very nice for a thread started in 2012 to continue accumulating knowledge that answers the question "what to do after Scratch?" One of the faculty at my university claims that the transition between Scratch and any other programming language is more difficult than learning a proper language in the first place. Therefore, it is better to avoid Scratch from the beginning.

The way I see it, this is essentially the same reason parents are encouraged to speak proper English to their babies rather than speaking only in baby talk. Most parents endulge in a little baby talk; however, almost none would insist the baby becomes proficient at baby talk before attempting standard English. Along these lines, perhaps a sensible recommendation would be to limit the Scratch stage to at most two weeks. This allows fun use of Scratch in the classroom without losing too many people down a dead end that has to be retraced before continuing forward.

Strangely enough, the way Holy C from TempleOS allows inclusion and direct editing of graphic images within a single source-code file is very close to what's needed in a language suitable to follow Scratch. This is not entirely surprising, as Terry Davis has focused on recreating the computer-as-a-toy experience popularized by the 8-bit computers of the 80's. While it may be possible to run TempleOS on the Raspberry Pi using an x86 emulator, it's likely better to take some of the ideas behind Holy C and create a similar language that runs natively on the Pi.

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bensimmo
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Re: After Scratch, what's next?

Mon Sep 26, 2016 6:33 am

There are a lot of the above I am having a look at. I've not seen anyone have a problem moving from scratch to say python once they find scratch a bit restrictive, other than being bothered to actually type code in. I see nothing wrong with Visual systems, wish they became more powerful really as many find them a nicer way to program rather than reams of text. I suppose it why Makaton or similar and visual expression are use with babies, it helps both understand.
I've not looked at the few that RPF bundle into Raspian (like Node Red etc)

Scratch though, is more about teaching logic, methods and just getting them interested at a younger age where loads of text just turns them off.
Yes you and I may have started from reams of text, but for the general population to gain the basic life ideas at a young age, it needs to be visual in my opinion.
But that a debate for its own topic.

mattmiller
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Re: After Scratch, what's next?

Mon Sep 26, 2016 8:30 am

The way I see it, this is essentially the same reason parents are encouraged to speak proper English to their babies rather than speaking only in baby talk. Most parents endulge in a little baby talk; however, almost none would insist the baby becomes proficient at baby talk before attempting standard English.
You make a very interesting point.

However, there are many computer programming languages and people are encouraged to try/use/learn a few of them (Python isn't likely to be your the end language game if your going to have a computer programming job) so its not a binary state like learning your native speaking language

Unfortunately, there is not a lot of interest in making a proper transitional tool amongst "grownup"s - the closest is Tosh https://tosh.tjvr.org/ and Sniff http://www.sniff.org.uk/p/getting-start ... sniff.html is another worthy attempt

(EduBlocks http://www.edupython.co.uk/ has just been started but that is very Pi specific)

And its probably going to take the likes of a young programmer to write the transitional tool since they are the ones that have gone thru the Scratch->Python cycle that few "grown ups" have :)

Unfortunately, these young coders have school and college work to get thru as well - we could do with, say an educational computer foundation, to maybe get the job done? :)

mattmiller
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Re: After Scratch, what's next?

Mon Sep 26, 2016 8:33 am

And of course, the alternative approach is Snap where you just stay programming in blocks but using all the advanced CS principles around :)

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