Wednesday, December 15, 2010

iRLO Project: SCRATCH version of "Name the State"

I remember a day in 1983 when I unpacked my first Apple computer. The commercials on TV made it sound so simple, and I could do all those neat things on it. As excited as I was to get it, once I saw all the boxes to open, plugs and cords to attach, discs to install and manuals to read, my excitement was quickly cooled. Through the years I've always embraced new technology, despite the requirement of time to find out how to use these new tools to the best of my abilities.

When the iRLO project was laid before me, I dived in head-first and began looking at all the cool stuff I could integrate into my presentation. Being a lover of history and American social studies, I devised a quiz for students requiring they identify the name of a state, provided I displayed an artifact associated with it. It seemed so simple, at least until I ran the script and discovered the timing was off for various sprites. I immediately grumbled a bit, knowing there had to be a way to sequence everything in conjunction. The second attempt resulted in some progress, but it became obvious I was in for some extra work. Argggh!
Sometimes you have to get in under-the-hood of an car to see what the engine has inside that makes it all work, and SCRATCH is  no different. I found myself looking at several other projects, not just those of some of my classmates, but in and amongst the examples provided by Dr. Boyer's many resources. "So that's how they make that happen!" ...and slowly it all came together in a nice presentation. I only wish I had more time to spend on this as I could really dress this up to total perfection, and there's only so many hours in the day to do that.

In the months and years to come, I want to learn more about SCRATCH and the unique ways to integrate this into my lesson it with ESL learners or the traditional classroom. I love the ways you can use personal objects (pictures) as sprites within the iRLO, and it creates a way to make each offering a unique experience for learning. And as frustrating as it may have been to some, it demonstrates how easy it is to throw our hands up in the air without first pausing to think "I know there's a way to do this...."   After all, isn't that the true American spirit? This is an experience I truly enjoyed!

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