Coding and Computational Thinking Using Scratch (Primary) (online)

This highly interactive course provides teachers with an introduction to coding and computational thinking, a step-by-step guide to using Scratch and access to a wealth of online resources and lesson ideas for both primary and post primary teachers. Whilst designed for primary teachers, the course is suitable for all teachers who would like to gain an understanding of coding and learn how to create a simple Scratch project. Although participants who previously completed our 'Scratch for Learning' course are welcome back, please be aware that the content of the two courses is similar.

Duration4 hours, at times of your own choosing (including time required to create your Scratch project)
Skill LevelIntermediate
Target AudiencePrimary teachers (3rd to 6th class mainly). Post primary teachers are also welcome.
PrerequisitesIntermediate level ICT skills. Participants will move between browser windows, following tasks in one window to create Scratch projects in another. Prior experience of participating in an online course, contributing to an online discussion forum and uploading or downloading files will be an advantage.

Online course availability, requirements and access

The course is delivered via First, check the Course Schedule for information on available dates. Enrolment links appear on once the course is open for enrolment (login first, then see the link labelled “Find links to enrol, here”).

Technical Requirements: A good broadband internet connection and a laptop, desktop pc or tablet (with the latest version of Chrome, Firefox or Safari installed).

Learning Outcomes

In this course participants will be enabled to:

  • Understand the basics of coding and computational thinking
  • Describe the 4 areas of computational thinking
  • List visual programming languages that can be used in the classroom
  • Understand the difference between unplugged and plugged activities
  • Be comfortable using Scratch software
  • Use Scratch in the classroom to support literacy and numeracy
  • Integrate Scratch across the curriculum
  • Create their own simple Scratch project

Course Content

This course consists of interactive lessons, tutorials on Scratch, discussion forums and an assignment using Scratch. Scratch is a free application, developed by the MIT Media Lab, which allows users to create and share their own interactive stories, animations and games. Available as Gaeilge, as well as the English version, it is an easy to use programming language, and a great way to start your coding journey.

The course consists of four modules as follows:

Module 1 – Introduction to Coding and Computational Thinking

This module provides an overview of coding and explains the four areas of computational thinking and how they can be used across the curriculum. Participants will be introduced to a wide range of coding tools and resources that are popular in Irish schools.

Module 2 – Scratch Coding

This module provides an introduction to the basic features of Scratch and an overview of Scratch resources, in particular the and websites. Using Scratch tutorials, participants will experiment with Scratch functions and start to create their first Scratch project.

Module 3 – Scratch in the Classroom

In this module, Scratch skills are further developed and participants learn how to edit a Scratch project. Participants will also explore uses of Scratch to support many areas of the curriculum, whilst further developing their own Scratch project which will be shared in Module 4.

Module 4 – Planning for Scratch

This module focuses on classroom management and planning for effective use of Scratch in teaching and learning. Participants will explore strategies to integrate Scratch into their teaching and will review the role of Scratch in assessment. As the final course assignment, participants are required to share a link to their own Scratch project.

Comments from previous participants

"Easy to understand. Clear explanations of how to do things. Plenty of practical examples to base projects on. Good timely feedback."

"I think the e-tutor sets a really positive tone for this course from the outset. I have completed online courses before and this felt more relaxed and supportive. The content was well presented and not too overwhelming."

"[I was] able to see the ways in which Scratch can be used as both an informative tool but also in assessment." 

"Highly structured course with relevant, new and useful information, providing for insight into the subject matter, with opportunity to engage with other teachers in the discussion forum."

"There were creative examples of how to incorporate Scratch into daily teaching - for example, students creating their own quiz that other students could use. Also the fact that Scratch can be used right across all variety of classes from the very academic to learning support students."