Scratch is a name anyone interested in the game based learning field will most likely have heard about. It is one of the longer running research projects and has a large online community.
The project has been running since 2003 and since its public launch in May 2007 it has been attracting more and more visitors. I personally played with it around 2010.
So what is Scratch? It is a graphical programming language that lets children program interactive workflows to develop a sense of systematic thinking. The creators state on their website that “As Scratchers program and share interactive projects, they learn important mathematical and computational concepts, while also learning to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively”.
This does not mean that it is used purely to get children ready for being a programmer later but it helps them in all sorts of jobs and programming is just one of them. It helps children getting used to use certain constructs to express ideas.
A cool thing about Scratch, is they use simple blocks. These can be used by users to create all sorts of interactive storyboards. By thinking in loops and in small steps
children are forced to use a systematic approach to get the story they want on the computer. Another nice thing about Scratch is that the sharing part is very easy; this is something very important as it allows people to share their creations with others and get ideas and feedback from others.
So for those interested, check it out at scratch.mit.edu