My next review is of Daisy the Dinosaur! This is one I always seem to remember, mainly because I think the dinosaur is really cute (very technical reason, I know!) Daisy is created by the same organisation as Hopscotch, another computing app I will be reviewing in a few days’ time.
This app is available from the iTunes app store as a free download. It introduces children to the basic concepts of programming, incorporating different commands and objects and learning how they interact with one another. Commands are written simply, such as “jump” or “turn” which is very age appropriate. Loops and sequencing also feature, and this is a great way to get children using the correct programming language from the off. The easy “drag and drop” process is a great way to show children the order of their commands and how one thing reacts to another.
Daisy is very cute and the interface is child friendly and appealing. If I was going to be stereo-typical I’d say it would appeal more to girls because of the “girly” colours, but that’s a huge generalisation; on the other hand boys may find the dinosaur character appealing. Overall though, I think most children will respond to and engage well with this app. It is better suited to KS1 as I think it wouldn’t be taxing enough for the majority of KS2 children.
On trying the app out in our Digital Literacy sessions it was concluded it could be a bit limited as there isn’t really much opportunity for progression unlike other computing apps. This isn’t necessarily a negative though, so long as you take the app for what it is; a basic, simple introduction to programming.
Does anyone use Daisy the Dinosaur as a first step into teaching children programming? Do the children find it as appealing as I think they would? Please let me know any of your thoughts!
Look out for my review of Hopscotch in a few days’ time! 🙂