ScratchJr

ScratchJr is a free programming language for children ages 5-7. ScratchJr utilizes block programming to allow children to create their own imaginative stories and games. The ScratchJr programming app was created as a collaboration among the DevTech Research Group, MIT’s Lifelong Kindergarten Group, and the Playful Invention Company through generous funding from the National Science Foundation (DRL-1118664 Award) and the Scratch Foundation. In the summer of 2014, ScratchJr was released as a free iPad app. Today, as of February 2022, the app has over 29 million iOS downloads and is available on iPads, Android tablets, and Chromebooks. Furthermore, volunteers from around the world have helped translate ScratchJr into 48 languages!

Visit ScratchJr Connect, our brand new curated database designed for educators and parents! 

Research

To learn more about our research using ScratchJr, please take a look at our publications.

Since January 2016, the team has used Google Analytics to collect ScratchJr user data. Google Analytics is a free tool that allows access to user activity as it happens in real-time on the app, as well as audience location, acquisition, and behavior. However, given ScratchJr’s young demographics, privacy was a top concern for the team. Only non-identifying information is collected and researchers do not have access to the pictures or sounds that children can import or any of their specific projects.

Results from Google Analytics show that there is a spike in usage each year in December, which corresponds to Computer Science Education Week. Furthermore, ScratchJr is used most often during school hours.

As of February 2022 over 77 million ScratchJr projects have been created, and over 114 million projects have been edited and revised. Furthermore, over 3 million projects have been shared with others via email or Apple AirDrop. The map below shows the top 10 countries using ScratchJr are: United States (30%), United Kingdom (9%), Australia (6%), Japan (5%), Canada (4%), India (3%), Sweden (3%), China (2%), France (2%), and Spain (2%).

 

To learn more about current research involving ScratchJr, visit The Coding Brain and Coding as Another Language project pages.

Curriculum Resources

Find here a summary of all of our freely-available curricular resources for ScratchJr

Find other curriculum resources for ScratchJr on the ScratchJr website.

Assessments

In parallel to curriculum development, DevTech Research Group also works to build assessment tools to measure children’s knowledge and skill levels within the ScratchJr programming language. There are currently two validated ScratchJr-related assessments: the Coding Stages Assessment and the ScratchJr Project Rubric.

The Coding Stages Assessment (CSA) assesses progress in learning the ScratchJr programming language in the framework of Coding Stages (De Ruiter & Bers, 2021).  This assessment is conducted one-on-one by asking the child or teacher interactive and open-ended programming questions. The assessment probes the five Coding Stages (Emergent, Coding and Decoding, Fluency, New Knowledge, and Purposefulness) that children go through when engaging with ScratchJr. CSA is administered as a game and take anywhere between 5-45 minutes to complete depending on experience levels.

The ScratchJr Project Rubric captures children’s ability to transform their coding knowledge into creating purposeful and creative projects (Unahalekhaka & Govind, 2021). There are two main aspects in the rubric: Coding Concept and Project Design. Multiple subcategories in this rubric are highly related to the computational thinking concepts such as Sequencing, Events, Repeat, and Number Input. The Coding Concept evaluates coding blocks’ complexity, efficiency, and functionality, while the Project Design focuses on aesthetic elaboration and customization. The ScratchJr Project Rubric can be administered after children complete their ScratchJr projects, typically taking around 3-5 minutes per project.

Additionally, we have developed TechCheck, which is an unplugged, platform independent assessment of Computational Thinking. More about these three instruments, including trainings, certification steps, and downloadable materials, can be found at our validated research instrument website.

Get Involved

To participate in research involving ScratchJr visit our Get Involved page.