BEGINNING PROGRAMMING RESOURCES
Please be sure to read carefully all of the requirements and obtain your parents’ permission before downloading or installing any of the programs or apps to your devices. These are recommended resources for upper elementary-middle school students who are interested in beginner computer programming.
Scratch – Developed for students aged 8-16 years old by the MIT Media Lab, Scratch is one of the best ways to take the first leap into visual programming language. It allows students to build interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art. This visual approach to programming is the perfect way to teach students the beginning concepts behind programming and basic software development. Scratch is free to download and runs on Mac, Windows and Linux. (New 2.0 version available on May 9).
Alice - is a 3D programming environment that allows students to create animations, interactive games, or videos to share on the web. The program will help students understand key principles such as object-orientated programming and 3D modeling. Programs are created by drag and drop using graphic tiles. Each instruction corresponds to standard statements in a programming language, such as Java, C++, and C#. Alice is free to download and runs on Mac and Windows. *Watch the tutorials before beginning.
Hopscotch HD is an iPad-only app that uses visual programming language, in which users drag "blocks" of code into a scripting area, to build programs. Aimed primarily at ages 8 and up, Hopscotch was designed for the touch-friendly tablet to eliminate the frustration common with code syntax. (FREE)
Daisy the Dinosaur is an app that teaches the basics of computer programming. It features a drag and drop interface that can be used to animate Daisy to dance across the screen. After playing Daisy, kids can choose to download a kit to program their own computer game. (FREE)
Cargo-Bot is an iPad game for children that focuses on solving puzzles to stack crates. It requires the crane machine that stacks the boxes to be programmed to carry out certain tasks. This app places the focus on developing thinking skills instead of coding itself. (FREE)
Kodable is an app that teaches programming basics and logic lessons to kids. Children help the Fuzz family navigate Technomazes that they face after crash landing on Smeeborg. Use drag and drop commands to direct your fuzz through the colorful lighted maze. If you want to keep your fuzz happy, don't get lost! (FREE)
My Robot Friend is an app that uses STEM education in an engaging game that challenges students to use logical thinking and problem solving. The first few levels start out simply but quickly become more challenging after the initial movement tutorial segment is finished. The advanced levels include some complex tasks such as backtracking and blasting moving targets. The better the player performs, the more costume pieces they‟ll unlock along with the coins needed to purchase them. ($3.99)
Codea is a great starting point for students interested in making apps and lets students program directly on the iPad device. Students can create games, simulations and just about any visual idea they have. *Recommended for students with some programming experience. ($7.99)