The Raspberry Pi created a lot of interest in the press for its low cost and credit-card size. The main reason for the creation of the Raspberry Pi was to see it used by kids all across the globe to learn programming. Computer classes in the UK have been constrained by the national curriculum for ICT, with students having to limit their computing activities to learning applications such as Word and PowerPoint, and using the internet to help with their school work. However, learning how to use Microsoft Office is often of little or no interest to students. Students are motivated by interactive activities such as programming, as they like to make things to find out how they work.
The art of programming is often perceived as being a difficult activity. This is, in part, because coding can be quite unforgiving with lots of information to remember. It is not a simple activity such as surfing the net, or formatting paragraph text.
Fortunately, there is a growing range of software, often open source, that helps students learn how to code. Stripping away the complexity, the programming languages and associated tools featured in this article aim to create new ways of helping students create projects that appeal to younger minds.
To provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled a list of 7 high quality programming tools that provide an ideal introduction to programming. Hopefully, there will be something of interest here for teachers and students alike.
Now, let’s explore the 7 programming tools at hand. For each title we have compiled its own portal page, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, a screenshot of the software in action, together with links to relevant resources.
|Programming Tools for Kids|
|Snap!||Visual, block, drag-and-drop programming language|
|Scratch||Easy to use programming environment for ages 8 and up|
|Blockly||Web-based, visual programming editor that's developed by Google|
|Processing||Flexible software sketchbook and language|
|Alice||Innovative 3D programming environment|
|Greenfoot||Simple but powerful Java IDE|
|BASIC-256||Easy to use version of BASIC|
|Return to our complete collection of recommended free and open source software including our latest additions.|