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April 29, 2013 / carlispina

Use an iPad to Teach Programming with the Hopscotch App

hopscotchI’ve previously written about the Scratch programming language, which is a great way to introduce people, particularly children, to computer programming topics and now with Hopscotch, this same type of computer programming is now available on the iPad. As in Scratch, programs are created by dragging elements around on the screen. You can pick from one of 10 characters or a text object of your creation and then, once you have made this selection, you write scripts to control your characters’ movement across the screen. While there aren’t as many programming components as there are in Scratch, you can pick your character’s location on the screen, move and rotate the character, change its costume, or leave a “trail” behind the character. You can introduce more than one character or you can write multiple scripts for the same character if you would prefer. Scripts can start to run as soon as you hit play, or they can be tied to specific conditions, such as tapping on the character, shaking the iPad, or tilting the iPad.

Hopscotch in Action

An example of a script in Hopscotch.

The app includes the option to save projects for later use or share projects with friends, which makes it good for repeat use or use with a group of people. It also has a help feature that is really more of a glossary for all of the types of blocks that the app offers, which is helpful for those who are just getting started. Hopscotch is a nice alternative to Scratch for those who want to be able to write scripts on the go or for schools where students have iPads. The company is particularly interested in working with educators who want to use the app and there is a form on their website for educators who want to connect with them for additional support in using the app.

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