Ahead of their annual developer conference, Google has announced a new program that some of its young developers have already started enjoying, the Scratch Blocks program.
Google announced that they were going to team up with the MIT Media Lab to start the Scratch Blocks program. The program is an updated version of the programming language which will be primarily centered around kids. The program was available for a preview at the Google’s I/O Youth event. Student participants already played and looked at how the tools are set up.
Scratch was developed back in 2007 by the MIT Media Lab. It’s a programming language that has always been designed for kids to help them gain the foundational knowledge that is needed in the world of programming and also develop some of their technical skills.
The new partnership with Google now means that there will be a new generation of the Scratch program. The hope is that Google can help push the programming language to new platforms, devices and users more than MIT could do. The new updated version of Scratch will be called Scratch Blocks and also contains Google’s visual programming language, Blockly.
Mitchel Resnick, Director of the MIT Scratch Team, said the new update would be made easier to run on smaller devices such as smartphone and tablets. He explained that even though many of the toy companies which were making products for kids were starting to put programmable elements for the users, none of them had a universal programming language. He hoped through Google’s partnership and its wide user base; there would be widespread adoption of the program so more and more companies could implement it.
Resnick also noted that the Scratch and some of the other visual programming languages relied on the shape or block-based systems, something which he called the Lego approach, which is much better for those who are beginners in programming. Shapes help kids plan out how they fit into each other he said.
The new program, Scratch Blocks is available at the Google Youth conference as a preview and will also be available for the main conference.
The program is just in its third year and is aimed at giving the young participants a preview of what they can expect when they eventually jump to the Developer I/O conference. At the Youth I/O conference this year, students were treated to 3D printing blocks, together with the early demo of the Scratch Blocks.