Skip to Content

​Scratch-n-sketch: My African Maker Story


Being a maker or an educator, you are always finding a new way of making things easier for learning how to code and physical computing. Myself am a maker passionate about teaching kids/makers/students new technology but being in a developing world getting the right resources to teach coding and physical computing is a hard task and so frustrating despite having hundreds of kits out there. The low literacy in basic computing skills and slow internet connection makes things even worse.

A few months ago, just freshly graduated i got a chance to teach kids coding and electronics at a talent workshop. Just as usual; Arduino to teach electronics and scratch to teach coding. First I had to burn the arduino for scratch firmware (http://s4a.cat) to the unos, did some wiring connections on the breadboard with leds, motors and a small display. The experience with Arduino+scratch combo to dim leds, turn motors and make interactive games with just one or more scratch blocks was really exciting. After the event alot of questions came in on how can the kids teach themselves coding and electronics at home. This was tricky, do you really give kids wires and breadboards to connect at home? It was going to be tedious and intimidating for kids. This made me to connect to a few friends and discuss a way we could create a simple plug n play kit accessed with scratch that kids can teach themselves coding and connecting to outside world in a simple, fun way and still use the kit ourselves. Scratch-n-Sketch was born.

Scratch-n-sketch, just as the name sounds is a plug and play kit that one can connect to a computer and access its features and functionalities using scratch blocks and also they can code too in python, ruby, javascript and arduino sketches once they graduate from scratch, the inbuilt sensors and a touch display makes connecting to outside world with scratch exciting and one can learn to make interfaces on the display, connect more sensors, control scratch games with a media remote control etc providing a playful exploration and experimentation method of learning STEM. We have exposed the kits to students, makers, kids, educators through workshops and expos. The feedback is really good especially when it comes to using scratch to learn how to code and electronics.

My team and I have enough reasons to build more kits, reach more people irrespective of nationality, income and expertise. The feedback and comments we got so far has given us hope for a better, technologically driven generation in Africa but we believe it's not only here but anyone out there deserves it and we have decided to share our kit with fellow makers n educators.

see links below; guthub page and website 
Comments
Member
Hi. I just discovered this and it looks great!
Have you managed to make any more or get support for this?
I am in Australia and I've been using scratchx.org with Arduino to get kids controlling LEDs and buzzers. It would be great to see something that doesn't need kids to do wiring at home.
Member
How are things going? Are you still looking for support. I'm still kind of disappointed that your Indiegogo campaign only attracted 14 supporters, which is a ridiculous small number. 
I'm also wondering if there's any chance for you to connect with the Scratch conference this year. The African view is almost completely absent at Scratch conferences and I think we as a community should make some efforts to change that.

Scratch on, Sketch on!

Best, Joek -Xotopia- van Montfort
Member

Pretty exciting. Hope I can do somethingg like this too.