First of all, I have a confession to make; I know very little about programming. What I do know is that it is wonderful for teaching problem solving skills and logic. I also know that those skills, and programming specifically, are in high demand in our nation’s job market.
Hopscotch is an iPod app that is free, and allows the player to create simple programs using methods similar to MIT’s Scratch (also free). I have mentioned two other apps – Daisy the Dinosaur and Cargobot – before on this blog, and I think Hopscotch fits perfectly between them. Daisy is a fabulous introduction to young children. Hopscotch would be the next logical stage. And Cargobot has more complex challenges. All of these apps are free.
Tynker is a web-based platform, and also looks similar to Scratch. I have not tried it yet, but read about it here. I just got my registration approved, and I am eager to try it. I used Codeacademy earlier this year with my students, but I am looking for something a bit more kid-friendly, and Tynker looks promising.
According to this Forbes online article, Hadi Partovi of Code.org ”cites estimates that 1.4 million programming jobs will be needed over the next decade while current projections are for only 400,000 graduates in the field.”