Creative Stars Update: Computer Programming, 22 September 2011

When we Creative Stars were told we would be having a surprise skills workshop, I was very curious as to what the surprise would be. We discovered that the workshop was on computer programming, and it turned out to be a really enjoyable session.

We used a programme called Scratch, which allows you to design little animations and even computer games. We went onto a website where we could see what other people had created using the software, and I was really impressed. There was a wide range of different projects, such as a dress-a-doll game, a movable skeleton application, and a beautifully hand-drawn musical animation based on the idea of doodling in a sketchbook and the drawings coming alive.

Really impressed and keen to produce our own Scratch projects, we started to explore the programme. We had a brilliant teacher named Sally who showed us how to give instructions and commands to the programme, to move and animate a character called a sprite. The default sprite was a cat, which could make a very realistic meowing sound. When everyone discovered this it felt as though we were in a room full of yowling kittens!

We learnt how to make the cat move, spin around and even speak. We then added some new sprites to our animations; Oliver and I ended up with a cat, a woman with an umbrella “singing in the rain,” another woman and a cute green octopus. It was a pretty unusual story! Adele’s animation was, in my opinion, the best; she had a wizard and a cat jumping up and down perfectly in-sync on a trampoline.

I found the session really enjoyable, and I learnt so much. I was delighted to find that Scratch is free to download, and I can’t wait to start using it at home to make more animations and maybe even computer games. It is a truly remarkable piece of software. Thank you so much to Sally, Marisa and the Creative Stars for this wonderful workshop.

Written by Creative Star, Liz Gibson  (September 2011)