ScratchJr: Computer Programming in Early Childhood Education as a Pathway to Academic Readiness and Success (Collaborative Research: Bers)

This project is researching and developing a new version of the Scratch programming language to be called ScratchJr, designed specifically for early childhood education (K-2). This work will provide research-based evidence regarding young children's abilities to use an object-oriented programming language and to study the impact this has on the children's learning of scientific concepts and procedures.

 

Project Email: 
Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1118664
Funding Period: 
August 1, 2011 to July 31, 2014
Full Description: 

This collaborative project between Tufts University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is researching and developing a new version of the Scratch programming language to be called ScratchJr, designed specifically for early childhood education (K-2). The current version of Scratch, which is widely implemented, is intended for ages 8-16 and is not developmentally appropriate for young children. This work will provide research-based evidence regarding young children's abilities to use an object-oriented programming language and to study the impact this has on the children's learning of scientific concepts and procedures. The team will develop ScratchJr in an iterative cycle, testing it in both in the Devtech lab at Tufts and the Eliot Pearson lab school and with a wider network of early childhood partners. At the end of the three-year project, ScratchJr will have been tested with approximately 350 students in K-2, 40 parents, and 58 early childhood educators.

ScratchJr will have three components: 1) a developmentally appropriate interface, with both touch screen and keyboard/mouse options; 2) an embedded library of curricular modules with STEM content to meet federal and state mandates in early childhood education; and 3) an on-line resource and community for early childhood educators and parents. The research questions focus on whether ScratchJr can help these young children learn foundational knowledge structures such as sequencing, causality, classification, composition, symbols, patterns, estimation, and prediction; specific content knowledge; and problem solving skills.

This interdisciplinary proposal makes contributions to the fields of learning technologies, early childhood education and human computer interaction. ScratchJr has the potential for broad implementation in both formal and informal settings.

Project Materials

Title Type Post date
Designing Tools for Developing Minds: The Role of Child Development in Educational Technology Resource 01/18/2016 - 12:52pm
ScratchJr Demo: A coding language for Kindergarten Resource 01/18/2016 - 12:40pm
Code and Tell: Assessing Young Children’s Learning of Computational Thinking Using Peer Video Interviews with ScratchJr Resource 01/18/2016 - 12:30pm
Constructing the ScratchJr programming language in the early childhood classroom Resource 01/18/2016 - 12:19pm
DR K-12 NSF Discoveries Announcement 06/18/2015 - 10:37am
ScratchJr: A coding language for Kindergarten Resource 03/31/2015 - 11:35am
What They Learn When They Learn Coding: A study using the ScratchJr Solve It programming assessment for young children Resource 03/31/2015 - 11:29am
‘‘I want my robot to look for food’’: Comparing Kindergartner’s programming comprehension using tangible, graphic, and hybrid user interfaces Resource 03/24/2015 - 9:50am
Implementing a Robotics Curriculum in an Early Childhood Montessori Classroom Resource 03/24/2015 - 9:42am
ScratchJr: Computer Programming in Early Childhood Education as a Pathway to Academic Readiness and Success (Collaborative Research: Bers) Poster 08/11/2014 - 10:26am
DR K-12 Projects featured in NY Times Announcement 09/09/2013 - 12:42pm
Designing Digital Experiences for Positive Youth Development: From Playpen to Playground Resource 10/12/2012 - 7:52am
ScratchJr: Computer Programming in Early Childhood Education as a Pathway to Academic Readiness and Success (Collaborative Research: Bers) Poster 06/27/2012 - 2:02pm
Spotlight on ScratchJr! Announcement 02/10/2012 - 1:26pm