Program coding is a difficult concept for many children to grasp, but an important
one, given the adoption of STEM (science, technology, engineering and
math) education in more and more classrooms.
This week, Hopscotch
launched its iPad programming language specifically for teaching kids to
code in a fun, engaging way. The app allows kids to create interactive
programs on the iPad by dragging blocks of code and dropping them into a
scripting area, with no typing required.
The company's inspiration comes from an older platform, Scratch, which was developed by MIT to turn young children into programmers.
In a demo with AllThingsD,
Hopscotch explained that it targets primarily girls age 8
and up and is designed so that users can utilize the touch-screen
tablet component without having to worry about frustrating common code
The free app hit the App Store but is hardly the first product to address kid-friendly programming education.
Years ago, AllThingsD noted, Microsoft introduced Kodu, a product originally created for the Xbox, that let teens create their own code. In 2012, Google introduced Blockly, a platform also based on Scratch, which lets users create applications by stringing together graphical blocks of code.
And recently, two other companies have come out with fun, digital
solutions that teach kids basic programming language in accordance with
Last month, for example, Kurato Studios released mobile game Hakitzu that engages kids in coding concepts through digital gameplay while, earlier this week, a newly founded company, Tynker, launched its interactive visual programming platform for kids.
The Tynker platform includes pre-packaged lesson plans, hands-free
interactive tutorials, advanced lesson generation tools and paperless
workflow for assigning and grading programming projects as a modern
solution for teaching programming and STEM skills in schools.
One thing that sets Hopscotch apart from other products on the same
mission is that its language is designed specifically to be programmed
on a mobile device.