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All posts tagged with ‘build your own blocks’

November 29th, 2010

Scratch – itching for more?

Brian Clark
Comments: 5 Comments » Tags: Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
 : Categories Added Value, Consolarium, games design, Glow

Build Your Own Blocks

MIT’s Scratch program has become a firm favourite in Primary and Secondary schools all over Scotland.  It is a great tool to create a variety of interactive media resources such as games, art, simulations and stories.  You are only limited by your imagination!

However, as more and more pupils are experiencing Scratch in their Primary classes or through their own curiosity at home, many secondary subjects that currently use Scratch (usually Computing departments) may be wondering how to build on these skills gained pre-secondary school.

One opportunity for extending the learning opportunities with Scratch lies with the BYOB mod of Scratch.  BYOB has all the features of the regular Scratch program, but has a couple of very exciting extras.  Including:

  1. the ability to build custom blocks 
  2. use recursion
  3. create first class lists and procedures
  4. ability to share sprites over a LAN
  5. ability to pass variables over a LAN


For the purpose of this post, I would like to demonstrate points 4 and 5 – the ability to pass information between 2 or more computers.  Lets look at an example:

The BYOB software, used in this way, provides us with a tool for learners that immediately promotes, and indeed requires, cooperative working and discussion.  Charlie and myself have been demoing this implementation with Computing teachers at CPD events over Scotland in the last month or so.  We have been delighted to see the discussion and cooperative working that needs to take place in order for learners to create what is,essentially, a multiplayer networked game.

Using the technique above of hosting a mesh and reading in variable data using the sensing option, user can quite quickly create a 2 player tennis style game as illustrated below.

These videos are a little rough around the edges, but I intend to re-do them as a set of tutorial videos to be hosted within our game design Glow group. This tutorial set will take users through the steps to make the tennis game.

Please get in touch if you have already been using BYOB with your classes and share your experience with us.


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Discover what can be achieved by applying ICT and games based learning to education; explore how you can develop it in your classroom.