I will admit to a certain level of geekyness. I’m not apologetic about it either. Sometimes, I just like to sit down and write a program for the fun of it. It’ll never go anywhere and I don’t share it with others. I find it just something enjoyable to do.
One of the playthings that I’ve been poking about with is Hopscotch for the iPad. You’re not going to mistake this for another productivity language and that’s not its goal. The goal is to bring a programming environment for the younger, beginning programmer to the iPad. I think it does it nicely. There are some enhancements that are coming and you can read about them on the developer blog. It definitely looks like the developers are listening to users. That’s great.
At present, this is what you have. You’ve got a development environment for the iPad, not dissimilar to Daisy the Dinosaur which had previously been reviewed on this blog.
If you’ve used the Scratch programming language, you’ll recognize the concepts immediately. From the left menu, you have actions categorized by type – Movement, Lines, Controls, Looks, and Operators. Just drag and drop onto the workspace and enter any required parameters. You’ll recognized the concepts of sequencing, repetition, modifying parameters, etc.
The steps and presentation are well designed for the intended programming audience. The cool thing is that it brings these concepts to students at an early age, on a device that they’re infatuated with, and in a context that is just fun.
What I find particularly interesting is that Hopscotch lets you program primitive actions or gestures your product. It’s done easily and adds just another helpful dimension to the program.
If you’re looking for a creative environment for students or your children to break away from gaming or other activities, Hopscotch is definitely worth a look. Just like the original Lego, they’ll soon be seduced into drawing and actions on their screen. Dare we suggest they might learn a little mathematics while at it?
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- Hopscotch – making it easy for kids to learn to code (adafruit.com)
- Hopscotch – Visual Programming for iPads (acthompson.net)
- App Review – Coding Apps: Daisy the Dinosaur and Hopscotch (primaryipadclassroom.com)
- All Thing Digital: Hopscotch for iPad Makes Coding Kid-Friendly (allthingsd.com)
- Hopscotch iPad app looks to teach building blocks of coding to girls [GigaOM] (gigaom.com)
- Hopscotch | Coding for Kids (swiss-miss.com)
- Hopscotch teaches kids to code with the first ever coding language designed for mobile (pandodaily.com)
- Hopscotch HD Introduces Kids to Programming (lifehacker.com)