Hopscotch is like Scratch on the iPad – it is a simple and intuitive way of introducing kids to programming. I really can’t recommend it highly enough if you have an iPad and a primary school kid in your personal or professional life.
I’ve been watching Hopscotch for a while, and really admired the way it has been developing. Version 2 is a lovely further step forward, although some of my comments from the first release remain pertinent. In particular it’s unfortunate that you can’t use conditional statements: But the way the developers are going, I can only assume that’s on the way.
With this new version you can now edit your characters directly on the stage. They’ll start out as pencil-sketch drawings in edit mode, and they’ll come to life as full-color animations when you play your project. You can now build your own blocks and save them for later use, or use them with other objects in your project. Hopscotch now comes with some built-in blocks that do things such as ‘float like a balloon’ or ‘jump’. The developers have also upgraded the look and added in a preview so you can see how each code block is affecting your character in real-time. This helps debug your code and make sure it’s working as you intended.
All in all this has made a good app even better. There are a lot of schools around Sydney that are now making iPads available to their students. All of those schools should have Hopscotch in their armory of apps: And if you are a teacher they have lesson plans available too. Amazingly enough Hopscotch remains free, although they apparently have plans to introduce some of the dreaded in-app purchases in the future. For the moment, you would be mad not to just grab a copy and try it out.
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