• Basics of the App ScratchJr

    ScratchJr is an app and another tool that children from four years of age can use to learn the basics of coding, in addition to the options mentioned above. They can work creatively with ScratchJr, do research together, solve problems independently and learn in a playful way without the need for reading and writing skills. Children can set their own challenging tasks, such as developing a little game or telling a story, and try to find their own way to master them. They learn how to carry out tasks in a playful way, to plan, to rethink and to adapt them if necessary. A special feature of the app is that it focuses on working in a group and solving problems together. Since the results of actions to be carried out are immediately visible and noticeable, children can also learn directly from their mistakes. The app has been carefully designed to correspond to the personal, social, cognitive, and emotional development of preschool-aged children.

    With the help of the app children have the possibility to move figures or objects, make them dance, jump, sing or react to each other. They can choose from different backgrounds and build worlds or stages for their figures. They can record and play their own voice or noises. Self-made photos can also be inserted. So, at the end whole projects, like stories or games with several scenes, can be developed independently.

    The app is available for free download for Android Tablets and iPads in the respective app stores. 

    In this module, only the interface and the most important elements of the app are presented, since there are numerous tutorials on ScratchJr in different languages, which combine detailed programme explanations and concrete tasks for children's groups. The app itself also contains a helpful tutorial for adults and an introductory video for children. The best way to learn how to use the app is to carry out concrete actions and achieve goals. Since these actions can be very different, they naturally depend on the respective child or "programmer" who is currently using the app.

    We recommend the following Internet page with tutorials for the app:

    • The most important answers to questions, tutorials, and application examples can be found on the official page of ScratchJr: http://scratchjr.org/

    Developer: A consortium of developers from Tufts University in collaboration with the MIT Media Lab and grants from the National Science Foundation.
    Systems: For Android Tablets (from 7-inch and Android version 4.2 or later) and iPads (on any iPad 2 or later, including any iPad minis that have iOS 7.0 or later installed).
    Costs: Free of charge.
    Target Groups: Children from 4 years (up to 8 years), pedagogical staff, parents.
    Topics: Practical media work, mathematical work, problem solving, orientation and structuring, creative design.
    Advertising: No advertising
    Usability: Fully functional offline.
    Navigation: Very simple and clear; no reading and writing skills necessary.
    Design: Simple, understandable language; clear and high-contrast colours; reader-friendly; clearly laid out.

    How does ScratchJr work?

    Start right now and try out your knowledge in practice. Our practical examples may give you some initial ideas.

    Comprehension Questions

    1. Is ScratchJr app suitable for very young children? Explain.

    2. What can ScratchJr app help young children to do?

    3. What tasks can children carry out by using ScratchJr app?