Scratch eBook Review

November 14, 2009 at 6:58 pm 4 comments


I’ve been asked to do a review on a new programming book published by Packt Publishing and written by Michael Badger. Normally I’d probably have multiple heart attacks over anything to do with programming, but this book teaches people how to use Scratch. Some of you older readers might remember me blogging about this a couple of times (in fact, my very first post writes about it). I’ve been using Scratch for a few years, and even though I don’t actively play around with it now, I’d recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning how to program.

scratchpic

Anyway, on to the review. This book covers everything from installation to using things such as a PicoBoard to bring the real world into Scratch. Quite literally. It walks you through all the different features of Scratch at an appropriate pace. I liked the fact that it didn’t go into so much depth that you were lost in tech-speak land, but it explained it enough so that you understood how the commands worked.

It covers all the major commands and treats them each as a separate ‘experiment’. It would be a good idea to have Scratch open while reading, so you can simply switch windows (or if you get the actual book version, just look at the screen) and try it out for yourself. The book also explains the basic concept of how Scratch is layed out (sprites, the background, blocks, etc.) which I feel would be useful to a beginner. Sometimes screenshots of blocks are used instead of words to explain things (mostly examples). These are useful if you get stuck, but I like to try to figure out how to do it myself first.

After a while, you’ll move on to entire projects. These get harder and harder, and I found myself discovering new ways to use blocks that I had never thought of before. I also found some useful notes about new blocks that I had no experience with, as I had a very old version of Scratch and hadn’t updated it in a while. My favourite addition is probably the list feature. It opens up a ton of new project ideas that usually would have needed complicated variables and a lot of fine tuning to get right.

This book is very content-rich, and would be a great help to learn how to program, whether you’re an educator or simply someone wanting to know a bit of programming. Younger readers probably wouldn’t be interested though, as it seems to be aimed at a higher age. (But that doesn’t make it any harder to learn!) One problem I had with it is the eBook format. I found it very hard to read from, as I constantly had to scroll down to the next “page”. Books are books. You can’t turn them into downloadable webpages – it just doesn’t work. However, this is just Adobe Reader’s bad layout. But I’d recommend getting a real book anyway, even if it is more hassle having to order it.

Overall, this is a good book to learn from, and it doesn’t have that “school book” feel that most educational books do. The author doesn’t strive to make every sentence contain at least one 15-letter word, and the language seems very laid back.

Click here to be brought to the Packt Publishing website if you’re interested.

-legoless

Don’t forget to read my Poptropica post and Jamie’s maths post if you haven’t already.

Entry filed under: All, Scratch. Tags: , , , , , .

So, you think you know Maths? So, you think you know Maths? Answers

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jamie McElwain  |  November 15, 2009 at 9:10 am

    I like the idea of it, but I think it’s more aimed at first time programmers. Since I already know loads (PHP, HTML, CSS, Python, JS, JQuery and XHTML), I don’t think I could benefit from it. I play about on Scratch every now and then though, it’s good fun. 🙂

    Reply
  • 2. Laura  |  November 18, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    nice…… Mick!!!1 -name removed- is a loser but english 2day wz funny… hes so bad at drama……
    legoless: Harsh. I liked his parrot impressions though.

    Reply
  • 3. Vicky3060  |  July 25, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    Its ok but a bit too much try less next time!

    Reply
  • 4. Anonymous  |  January 30, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    HEY GUYS I GOT A REALLY COOL CHEAT FOR YOU!!!. PASTE THIS INTO 15 DIFFERENT POSTS AND YOU WILL GET FREE MEMBERSHIP FOR LIFE AND THE RAINBOW PUFFLE AND GOLDEN PUFFLE AND 1000000000000000000000000000000 COINS!! ONCE YOU HAVE DONE THAT PRESS F3. THIS IS SUPER REAL!!!!!!! P.S YOU WILL GET THE BETA HAT RED LEI BLUE LEI AND ANY COOL ITEMS

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