I know it’s been a little over a week, but I am back and ready to post some more reviews on computing and coding apps!
My next app to review is Hopscotch. This is available from the iTunes app store and is another freebie, which is brilliant. This app allows children to create games and animations, whilst learning vital skills in remixing and creativity. It is very similar to Scratch, what with the “building blocks” approach to creating algorithms, and the way the interface looks generally. Personally for me though I think it would be much more appealing to young children. Scratch is very grey; Hopscotch however is colourful, looks more interesting and there are cute characters which I think young children (aka, me) will adore.
I like Hopscotch mainly because it is visually very easy to understand how putting in a certain command can cause something else to happen. This, as we know, is an important aspect for children when starting to learn about algorithms and with discussion can help create and drive their thought processes. When used on an iPad there are also several different ways to add instructions, not just tapping the screen. Children can add certain commands by tilting the iPad, or even shouting at it! This adds a whole new, interesting dimension to computing for children.
I think Hopscotch would be suitable mainly for KS2 but with some help and support could be introduced in the latter stages of KS1. I think it’s something children would engage with more so than Scratch, simply because it looks more attractive and will therefore be more appealing.
Again, the only downside for me is that it is only available on an Apple product, so therefore limits those who do not have this software in schools. I will try and review some programmes next that you don’t necessarily have to own an iPad to access!
Finally, have you used Hopscotch in your schools? How effective was it in engaging your children, and do you find they are more attracted to colourful, fun interfaces over more plain ones? Or is it simply how you teach it that gets them involved? Let me know!