When you learn to read and write, it opens up opportunities for you to learn so many other things. When you learn to read, you can then read to learn. And it's the same thing with coding. If you learn to code, you can code to learn. Now some of the things you can learn are sort of obvious. You learn more about how computers work.
I started my career as a journalist, writing about science and technology for 'Business Week' magazine. Then I decided to make a career shift. I went to graduate school in computer science, and I began developing educational technologies - in particular, technologies to engage children in creative learning experiences.
With 'Scratch,' our goal is to allow people to mix together all kinds of media, not just sounds, in creative ways. We want people to start from existing materials - grabbing an image, grabbing some sound, maybe even bits of someone else's program, and then extending them and mixing them to make them their own.
With 'Scratch,' you create computer programs by snapping together graphical programming blocks, much like LEGO bricks, without any of the obscure syntax and punctuation of traditional programming languages. After creating an interactive 'Scratch' project, you can share it on the 'Scratch' website, just as you would share videos on YouTube.
Working as a correspondent for 'Business Week,' I felt that I was simply informing people, not empowering them. I saw a parallel problem in the world of education. In too many educational settings, teachers simply 'inform' or 'instruct' learners, rather than providing learners with opportunities to explore, experiment, and express themselves.