Scratch is very popular in Junior Phase teaching to develop computational thinking in young people. MIT have just announced a beta of Scratch 2.0 – and it’s web-based!
The beta can be found at beta.scratch.mit.edu – you’ll need to have an existing Scratch login to use it.
The web-based nature of Scratch 2.0 opens up a wide range of collaborative opportunities for young people, as well as offering the opportunity to easily work on Scratch at school and home – files are cloud based, so are easily updated between multiple locations.
A modern browser is needed (IE8 just won’t cut it without ChromeFrame installed).
The layout is a bit different – there’s a lot more room for scripts, for example, and they have separated ”events”, such as When Green Flag Clicked from “controls”, such as loops and If…Then.
There is also now an option to clone sets of commands – although the support forums indicate this may still be a little bit buggy.
Sprites are now Vector graphics, so goodbye chunkiness on scaling!
The one concern I’ve got is the very web-based nature – although a stand alone version is planned, the reality is most of will work web based for these interactive tools, but what happens if the network goes down? Or we spend days putting together a resource, only to find the next day that the interface has changed (I’m thinking of prezi, who can be quite bad for this)
Overall, Scratch 2.0 looks very promising as a challenging yet manageable introduction to what we are trying to – if MIT can do something similar with AppInventor in terms of ease of use, we’ll be laughing!