Posted by Champika Fernando, Product Manager, Google and Kasia Chmielinski, Product Lead, Scratch
Today, we announced a collaboration with the MIT Media Lab’s Scratch Team on the development of a new generation of graphical programming blocks, called Scratch Blocks. Released as an open-source developer preview today, Scratch Blocks builds on Google’s Blockly technology and the Scratch Team’s expertise in designing creative interfaces for young learners.
Scratch Blocks represents the first step in a broader effort, focused on developing new software toolkits that enable developers to create consistent, high-quality programming experiences for kids everywhere.
Since its launch in 2007, Scratch has empowered more than 11 million young people globally to create more than 14 million games, animations, and stories, and to share their creations with others in the Scratch online community. (source: https://scratch.mit.edu/statistics/)
Like the Scratch Team, we believe that coding is more than just a set of technical skills; coding is a valuable tool for everyone, empowering kids (and adults) to imagine, invent and explore.
Today, we’re releasing an early developer preview of the Scratch Blocks horizontal grammar - an icon-based grammar that’s optimized for small screens, and is ideal for beginner-friendly experiences (see screenshot below). We also have plans to support the vertical, text-based grammar that’s already familiar to today’s users of Scratch.
This prototype implementation of Scratch Blocks controls a LEGO WeDo 2.0 device over a bluetooth connection.
We’re also continuing to improve Blockly, the technology underlying Scratch Blocks. Today, we open-sourced a native Android version of Blockly that supports building better experiences on tablets, and we plan to open-source an iOS version later this year. We've also made significant improvements to the performance of web Blockly, enabling better rendering performance on mobile devices.
Scratch Blocks will be featured at I/O Youth on May 17, 2016, and in the “Developing for Kids” Sandbox at Google I/O from May 18-20, 2016 at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, CA. Learn more about Scratch Blocks at scratch.mit.edu/developers. Learn more about Blockly at developers.google.com/blockly.