The main idea behind ScratchJr was to create an app that enables young children ages 5-7 to create their own interactive stories and games. The researchers at the MIT Media Lab, Tufts University and Playful Invention Company proposed themselves to fundraise on the Kickstarter about $25,000 for an iOS version, it may be a hard goal but not for them.
In about two days the goal was reached. So, the team set new goals, to reach $60,000 and realease the Android version and more $20.000 to develop resources and curriculum materials for parents and teachers. The final goal was to reach $80,000 and it was almost reached without $3,000.
ScratchJr was inspired by the popular Scratch programming language, used by millions of young people (ages 8 and up). So the ScratchJr team just redesigned the interface and programming language to match younger children’s cognitive, personal, social and emotional development. It became so simple that even children who have not yet learned to read can create projects with it.
The app was launched in July on the iPad platform, and developers are working on versions for the Web and Android devices.
As young children use ScratchJr, they learn how to create and express themselves with the computer, not just to interact with it playing or surfing the internet. In the process, children learn to solve problems and design projects, also they develop sequencing skills that are foundational for later academic success. ScratchJr is not just about learning to code, it’s about coding to learn.