To scratch or not to scratch – a reflection
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This paper investigates the extent to which the Scratch programming language has been accepted as an electronic teaching tool among teachers in South Africa. Information Technology (IT) was identified as a scarce skill in the Birchwood Declaration (2007) released by the South African Department of Education, a problem compounded by the declining number of the students who enrol in IT-subjects at school. Scratch was introduced as an e-Learning tool in the IT curriculum as part of an effort to address this issue (NCS 2012). Through the use of this tool, learners can be taught basic programming principles in a visual and interactive way. Although several studies on Scratch as a programming teaching tool have been conducted in other countries, such as the United States of America, the aim of this study is to determine how teachers in South Africa perceive the use of Scratch as a teaching tool during the first year of implementation. A mixed-method research approach, utilising both qualitative and quantitative re-search methods, was selected. The findings show a definite change in the attitude of teachers towards Scratch as an e-Learning tool, from initial scepticism to a more positive attitude later on in the year. However, some concerns were raised which should be noted and addressed in order to ensure that this tool adds value to the teaching and learning experience in class. The findings of this study could pave the way for the implementation of Scratch at first-year level, particularly as an introduction to programming courses. This could serve to bridge the gap between the schooling system and university in terms of the development of critical thinking-skills.