Coding as the New Literacy

Professor Mitchel Resnick on the benefits of learning to code, use of programming in everyday life, and the development of Scratch

videos | January 20, 2015

What are the benefits of learning to code? Why did programmers develop “Scratch”? How is “Scratch” different from other programming languages? Mitchel Resnick answers these questions, and explains how coding can help us think more efficiently.

For me, coding is a new literacy. It’s a new way for people to express themselves and share their ideas with the world. In my mind coding is an extended form of writing.

Coding is not just about learning or making a living, and preparing for a job. Programming can also be very useful in our everyday lives. The same way you might write a letter to a friend, you can use coding to make an interactive birthday card for a friend. Also, learning can be helpful in organizing your ideas, and helping you learn how to think more systematically and express your ideas.

To support people learning to code, and make it accessible to a wide range of people, we developed a new programming line which is called “Scratch”. Scratch is a language we developed to make it easier for people to create their own projects, interactive stories, games, animations, or simulations, and then share their creations with the world.

LEGO Papert Professor of Learning Research, Academic Head, Program in Media Arts and Sciences, Lifelong Kindergarten group, MIT Media Lab
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