One of the best things about using an iPad is all the great apps that we can run on it. There are excellent apps for just about any purpose you can think of. Better still, there are lots of great free apps for the iPad. Our Best Free iPad App of the Week posts highlight these apps.
This week’s pick is Hopscotch HD, which is a great app with a great purpose – introducing kids to programming. The app does a superb job of making this introduction kid-friendly and compelling.
Here’s a little of its App Store intro:
Hopscotch allows kids to create their own games and animations. Kids unleash their creativity with this beautiful, easy-to-use visual programming language.
Inspired by MIT’s Scratch, the Hopscotch programming language works by dragging and dropping method blocks into scripts. When you’re done with a script, press play to see your code in action! As you get more advanced, you can add more objects and use custom events, such as shaking and tilting the iPad, to run your code.
And some details on why the app has such an admirable purpose:
Why coding? By the year 2020, there will be a projected 1.4 million computer jobs but only 400,000 CS students. Computer Science is among the highest paid college degrees and programming jobs are growing at 2x the national average.
Many of the best coders fell in love with programming as kids at the age of 8, 10 and 12 years old. With Hopscotch, kids can build and perfect their own creations while obtaining an understanding of the fundamentals of computer science.
I have been singing the praises of this app to my 10 year old daughter since I first saw it mentioned earlier this week, and I’ve installed it on my own and her iPad. She is already a very ‘techie’ child – at home on a Mac, a Windows PC, and on iOS and Android devices. She has also already created a couple of websites with very little help. I don’t know that programming will end up being a big interest for her, but I absolutely love the idea of having her exposed to it and seeing where she goes with it.
I have spent a few hours with Hopscotch HD and I think the idea behind the app is extremely well executed. There’s zero barrier to entry; it couldn’t be easier to dive in and see how you can make things happen by building little scripts. And of course there are fun characters to work with.
If you’ve got youngsters who you think might have some interest in programming, this is a great app fo giving them a fun first taste of it.
Here’s an App Store link for Hopscotch HD.
If you’re after more great free iPad apps, be sure to check out our previous choices for Best Free iPad of the Week. We’ve also recently put together a best of the best of our selections from the last year in a Top 25 Best Free iPad Apps list.