Reflection 3 – Digital Technologies Activities: Phase 3 – Exploring alternatives to Scratch
For this phase of digital technologies activities, we are required to select and explore two alternatives to the scratch program. For this phase I selected to explore Adobe Flash Professional CS3 and SNAP!. Adobe Flash Professional is a software platform used for authoring vector graphics, animation and games. Projects created through flash are played and executed in Adobe Flash Player. I used Flash to create and manipulate graphics and objects to provide animation of text, drawings, and still images. I have used this program in grade 11 and 12 ITS, so I refreshed my knowledge of this program through completing a series of exercises utilising different aspects of Flash. I created a bouncing ball through integrating layers, tween and shape motion. I also created a clock through using multiple layers and tween motion, A ball follow a path through using layers and frames and created a tween animation of my name.
The second program that I explored was Snap. Snap is a visual drag and drop programming language. This is very similar to Scratch hence why the choice for this program. Since the interface was similar it was quite easy to understand and manipulate with. I did not spend much time with it however created a series of shapes through using motion, pen, sensing and looks functions. Each time a shape was shown a message on the stage would notify you of the shape about to be drawn.
I think implementing these two alternatives into a classroom would effectively engage students as it would allow them to manipulate various functions of SNAP e.g. students would be able to use different characters, picture, control functions, sounds and messages. Flash allows students to manipulate tween motion, animation movie clips, symbols, layers and masking functions. The teacher in this instance would be able to allow students to select and manipulate a range of materials, components, tools and equipment creatively, competently and safely in the development of designed solutions suitable for a range of technologies contexts (ACARA, 2013). It gives students an insight into understanding the roles and responsibilities of designers and those in related occupations (ACARA, 2013). Students should be able to explore and investigate Flash and Snap to create and critique innovative, ethical and sustainable designed solutions for preferred futures using a range of technologies(ACARA, 2013). Consequently students using Flash and Snap develop confidence as critical users and designers and producers of technologies and designed solutions (ACARA, 2013).
These two programs further link with components from the Technology curriculum draft including: 2.5 Follow, describe, represent and play with a sequence of steps and decisions needed to solve simple problems, 2.4 Identify, explore, and use digital systems (hardware and software components) for personal and classroom needs, 4.2 Investigate how well information systems meet home, classroom and community needs and envisage new applications for existing information systems, 4.5 Define simple problems, and follow and describe the algorithms (sequence of steps and decisions) needed to solve them, 4.6 Design and implement simple visual programs with user input and branching, 6.6 Follow, modify and describe simple algorithms involving sequence of steps, decisions, and repetitions that are represented diagrammatically and in plain English and 6.7 Design and implement digital solutions using visual programs with user input, branching and iteration. Flash and Snap used in the in the classroom would allow students an opportunity to be able to develop and exhibit a range of functional and critical thinking skills related to information, media and technology (Partnership for 21st century skills, 2013).
The following URL will provide a video of my learning throughout this phase:
Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). (2013). Draft Australian Curriculum: Technologies – Digital Technologies processes and production skills . Retrieved, March 9, 2013, from http://consultation.australiancurriculum.edu.au/Static/docs/Technologies/Draft%20Australian%20Curriculum%20Technologies%20-%20February%202013.pdf
Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (2013). 21st Century Learning Environments. Retrieved, May 23, 2013, from http://www.p21.org/overview/skills-framework/354