Skip to content

Our Vision For The Teacher’s Guide To Scratch Book Series

Why We Made It

A society is built by its education – it shapes and informs its citizens. A lack of meaningful support for education, or a lax attitude to its quality, both undermine a society’s future.  Sadly, education around the world is in crisis. The pandemic, austerity measures, and politicization have all put enormous pressures on the field. The world is also moving at an ever increasing pace. Substantial technological changes are occurring without the generational time scales to adapt and integrate. Education desperately needs both support and to realign to the technological era we live in.

This book is our attempt to move things in the right direction. A comprehensive guide to support teachers to learn how to use coding themselves, so they can adapt it into their practice. This was something we could achieve, could make a substantial difference, and begin a process of adaptation and renewal. Teachers and school districts need support, and we’re here for them.

Why a Book Series?

The sad truth is teachers have little time and school boards little money to address the issues.  We knew we needed to start by providing an easy way to start making progress. A book series that is both a reference and a practical guide, that teachers can pick up when they have the time and energy, or put aside when they need to bunker down felt like the right resource. While we need to address the issue, we have to realize the pressure of the situation. Easy, accessible, pausable, browsable and re-readable material would be key to fit into the work life of educators.

A big problem we recognized with coding education was the lack of comprehensive or long-term professional development. There is an absolute ocean of content available, but it is almost without any good curation. Teachers are left trying to drink from the fire hose of internet content without the expertise or time to parse through the options, find meaningful and practical learning paths, and grow their own competence and confidence with the subject. So we are left with one-shot events, workshops and lesson plans that keep people busy, but don’t build a solid foundation, nor guide us toward a substantially better situation.

This book series tries to provide exactly that, a meaningful and thought-out learning path to a level of professional development that can provide classrooms with integrated coding education. We’ve built the series to cover the fundamental knowledge and key concepts of computer science, through practical projects, with a clear learning path, focused on professional development and practical tips, troubleshooting and inspiration for successful integration.

Why Trust Us?

  • Taught coding across Canada for 7 years in classrooms from Grade 2/3 to Grade 12, in person and remotely.
  • Taught workshops and conducted public outreach with dozens of informal learning centres like libraries, museums, drop-in/outreach centres, clubs and special interest organizations.
  • Lectured and run workshops for over 20 post-secondary institutes in Canada in Education, Computer Science and Entrepreneurship
  • Over 20 years of professional coding experience including web development, mobile development and game development with over 4 million players.
  • Developed workshops and curriculum for Scratch, Micro:bits, P5JS, Python, Javascript, HTML, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Game Development, and AI Ethics.
  • Over 20,000 students introduced to coding, over 2000 teachers.
  • The most comprehensive book series on teaching Scratch ever published!
  • Published by Routledge – world leaders in educational publishing for almost 200 years.
  • Vouched for by Scratch team members with Forewords from Amon Millner & Karen Brennan.

The Need For Coding Education

As technology transforms our world with ever increasing access to information and computing, education needs to change. While we strongly believe in maintaining fundamentals, new techniques and norms need to be established for the changing world. Calculators didn’t mean kids shouldn’t memorize their multiplication tables. Other changes don’t mean we should give up on key skills and ingrained knowledge, but we do need to provide for more adaptive learning environments. With increased access to information and the influence of generative AI we can’t rely on students providing a canned answer the way previous generations have. We need to ensure we’re having engaged processes to demonstrate learning. This means more creative project-based and flipped classroom learning. Coding is the perfect tool for that.

Teaching Students To Learn

Learner-based learning like discovery, flipped or blended classrooms are great, but kids can’t teach themselves without tools. A level of teacher involvement, support and guidance is necessary for the best learning. We want students to discover things for themselves and be carried by their interests, but we don’t ask kids to reinvent the wheel. We teach them about the wheel, we give them examples of it, and then let them discover the meaning and potential of it. Likewise we need teachers who can provide students the fundamentals, provide examples and engage the students before the students can engage themselves. We teach kids the alphabet and to talk so they can communicate and use language to discover the world. Like human languages coding has so many already established patterns and concepts. We need to teach those to the students for them to understand and use those systems so they can discover their potential.

Teachers Are Key

Teachers form the learning environment. As leaders they set the time, space and mentality of the learning. Teachers need to be trained before they can be effective – no comfort leaves them unable to prepare, run or assess activities. Showing that you are also learning to students is good, but a lack of comfort or confidence with coding undermines teachers’ efforts. Even with a growth mindset, if stumped by bugs, it’s hard for a lesson to feel successful. This means teachers need to have professional development opportunities to ensure they can provide the right learning environment.

What Our Vision is for Coding Education

Investing in coding education, through professional development and changes in practice, unlocks new possibilities. It provides a wealth of amazing tools for both the teacher and the student. Integrated coding allows deeper investigation by allowing classes to build simulations, analyze data, and engineer solutions, providing a rich, deep and broad level of investigative learning. However it isn’t just about technology, science and engineering. Very importantly coding is also creative. It engages the full spectrum of human potential. It can provide opportunities to experience wonder, explore ideas, follow dreams, and express creativity. It isn’t just about job skills, it’s about accessing the richness of our world and its technological benefits to embrace the full human potential.

Project-based learning is key to tapping student’s internal motivations. It lets them dream and build, tapping their desires to build them goals and push them to grow. By coming up with self-direct projects it reveals to them the work and demands behind making their dreams come true. It uses that passion to drive learning and exploration. When students achieve success with their projects they see how they can set goals, commit to tasks, push themselves to both learn and work and achieve success in their own right. Successful project-based learning builds lifelong learners, not just test passers. It teaches them to learn. It teaches them to teach themselves.

Our Purpose and Vision for the Books

We wanted to create an all-in-one guide for teachers – a single source they can rely on to be a beacon for them to get the help they need. To provide a full path of support to learn from zero to hero, avoiding the patchwork approach that fails to make the catalytic change required that 99% of coding education materials fail to deliver. We wanted to provide a reference that teachers could rely on as their go to source for all things computer science (CS), to give a range of knowledge and concepts that support them and their learners towards those steps beyond Scratch to aid that transition when it comes. Knowing how frightening and insurmountable bugs can be for new coding educators, we wanted to provide a thorough, helpful, easy and positive troubleshooting guide. We wanted to convey and explain CS theory, concepts and methodology through practical, welcoming, and age-appropriate examples. Knowing the book had to be digestible in bite-sized pieces we wanted to provide stand-alone singular projects, but ensure we were teaching reusable and adaptive techniques, frameworks and templates.

Goals for the Books

It’s a tall order, but we think we’ve succeeded. With almost 700 pages over 3 books we’ve delivered the most comprehensive guide to Scratch and coding education that we know of. We hope that the scale of its success matches the scale of its depth to ensure it can be the help for teachers that we’ve dreamed it would be. The books are split into Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced so would be well suited to Masters in Education programs for continuing education for teachers. Ideally coding education should be a part of any Bachelors in Education program these days, so hopefully it will help train a new generation of digitally integrated educators. We’re sure motivated teachers curious about coding will find the books an excellent resource to the best way to integrate coding into their classrooms, especially grade 3 to 10. Our hope would be that school districts and departments of education recognize the need, and the potential of this book to help, and provide them through bulk purchases, which the publisher offers significant discounts for (so mention that to your school district and department contacts)!

More To Come

We aren’t stopping here though. We’ve got a few more exciting announcements to make this year for teacher support. We’ll have a few new projects to announce and launch! Of course, we have our Coding Education Partnerships to provide every day support for school districts as well. So, if you’re an administrator, or you have the ear of one, get them to drop us a line and find out how we can help make your school a world leader in coding education!