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Creating Animations That Talk: Express Ideas With Language Extensions in Scratch

Explore and create

Explore and create : Creation lab

Sunday, November 29, 7:45–9:15 am PST (Pacific Standard Time)

Jacy Edelman  
Marian Muthui  
Dr. Natalie Rusk  

How can you create animations that can talk? How can you make a project that translates into multiple languages? Experiment with new extensions to Scratch that your students can use to express ideas that span language arts, social studies, science and other subject areas.

Audience: Teachers, Professional developers, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Participant accounts, software and other materials:
Topic: Creativity & curation tools
Grade level: PK-12
Subject area: Language arts, STEM/STEAM
ISTE Standards: For Students:
Creative Communicator
  • Students create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.
  • Students publish or present content that customizes the message and medium for their intended audiences.
Global Collaborator
  • Students use digital tools to connect with learners from a variety of backgrounds and cultures, engaging with them in ways that broaden mutual understanding and learning.
Additional detail: Session recorded for video-on-demand

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

The purpose of this session is to enable educators to explore how students can use coding to expand their ability to communicate their ideas. The workshop will introduce and support participants in experimenting with new Scratch coding blocks, including text-to-speech and language translation extensions. Educators will explore examples from students around the world, and create their own animations that can talk aloud and show translations in multiple languages.


The session will provide participants with a hands-on introduction to coding with Scratch language extensions. The session will be organized in a playful, interactive, exploratory style, with participants quickly diving into hands-on experimentation, and then stepping back for reflection and discussion. Participants will have opportunities to share with others, and also to ask questions and discuss strategies with members of the Scratch Team, who will be facilitating the session.

Here is our proposed timeline:
(5 minutes) Short demonstration of diverse projects students have created with Scratch language features
(5 minutes) Introduction of how to add the Text-to-Speech blocks.
(20 minutes) Participants experiment with these blocks
(5 minutes) Participants share and reflect on their experiences
(5 minutes) Introduction of the Translate coding blocks
(20 minutes) Participants work on simple project using these extensions
(5 minutes) Participants share and reflect on their experiences
(5 minutes) Presentation of strategies and resources for supporting creating projects across subject areas using these coding blocks
(20 minutes) Whole group Q&A and discussion

Supporting research

The Scratch in Practice website ( highlights how educators around the world are using Scratch to support students' creative expression and deepen student learning across subject areas. This ISTE blog post introduces some of the ideas behind use of Scratch across the curriculum:
The value of providing students coding environments in their native language is explored in this research paper:

More [+]


Jacy Edelman, Scratch Foundation
Marian Muthui, Scratch

Marian is a Global Experience Researcher at Scratch Foundation.

Dr. Natalie Rusk, MIT Media Lab

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