Top 5 Apps for Coding

Children in schools are no longer passive consumers of technology. They are creators of content, using building blocks of code to design their own games, their own apps and tackle big issues. There are many different ways to use iPad to generate content and explore coding. So, these are our top 5 apps for coding!

Simon Pile

As you probably know, there are standard apps that everyone seems to use to support coding. Without doubt apps like Hopscotch and Scratch Jr are great on iPad but I’m going to ignore them, and all the others, for this Top 5. What I look for is experiences that put younger children in control at an early primary age to be the creative force we need in later years. So, here are my top 5 ways to inspire coders using iPad by getting them to use building blocks to create interactive, engaging content that draws them into wanting to do more coding later on.

  1. Bloxels – with Bloxels, you are the artist, the game designer, the storyteller, the programmer, the publisher and the player. You are the 13-bit Builder.
  2. Floors – for anyone who wants a bridge between coding and game creation, this is it. Each pixel can be coded using a specific key to create terrain, enemies, rewards and so much more.
  3. The Foos – children as young as 3 and 4 have loved this entry level to coding and programming. It does what the Bee Bot could have done, using building blocks of code which you can drag and drop to complete missions. It builds nicely in complexity.
  4. Ozobot Groove – this mixes the world of the little robot with iPad, utilising iPad as a dance floor. You can drag and drop units of code that make the Ozobot spin, move and literally dance. Program a number of robots at the same time for synchronised dancing.
  5. Tickle – The ultimate app to control devices in the real world including Sphero, Dash and Dot and Drones. It uses an interface very much like Scratch and Hopscotch which makes it very familiar to children.

Martin Coutts

  1. Bugs & Buttons – this is an excellent pupil friendly app designed to teach sequencing in ages 3-5. With this pupils develop basic skills that underpin coding and programming and they will enjoy the graphics as well.
  2. Lego Fix the factory – this app is perfect for children aged 6-8. This app is designed to teach pupils the fundamentals of debugging and problem solving. They program a virtual Lego robot to complete each level.
  3. Move the turtle: this is another app that teaches the fundamentals of programming using a fun and easy to use graphical interface. Pupils complete complex tasks using simple instructions. Each task uses an element of the previous one. This shows pupils the connection between commands.
  4. Infinite Arcade – this app is made by the awesome team at TinyBop. Combining games based learning strategies with commands, pupils can use their own characters and create a game quickly and easily. Great for imaginative learning and creativity.
  5. Tynker – this is another app that uses the same building block programming style. The app contains puzzles that pupils can solve using programming to achieve a goal. Grant application in the classroom for cross-curricular application as well as aspects of numeracy and STEM.

Steve Bambury

I’m going to work my way up from EYFS to KS2 with theseand every app listed here is free too! Honourable mentions go to Tynker, Tickle, The Adventure Creator, Coda Game and Code Warriors.

  1. The Foos – This is definitely my pick for Early Years. I first used this in 2014 for The Hour of Code and the kids just love it. Key features – a language neutral interface, vibrant characters and a gentle learning curve.
  2. Kodable – There are a heap of game style apps that suit KS1 students but what elevates Kodable is the ability to differentiate via the curriculum playlists feature. My five year old daughter regularly returns to this one.
  3. Scratch Jr – by Year 2 I like to move on from game-based coding platforms to ones where students begin to write their own simple programs. Scratch Jr is fantastic for this and is also the perfect stepping stone towards the full Scratch 2.0 experience. Bonus – Scratch also offer a second Jr app with the PBS Kids cartoon characters.
  4. Hopscotch – I have rediscovered my love of the Hopscotch app this year and have been having great fun with students in KS2 coding escape games with a Victorian theme over the last few weeks. There’s so much you can do with Hopscotch and a wealth of built in tutorial content which is great for supporting less able coders.
  5. The SoloLearn apps – By the end of KS2 I like to begin using full text-based programming with students. This can be quite a leap for some and fairly daunting – a student could be a great Blockly programmer but weak grammatically which can spell doom during text-based programming. The SoloLeatn apps are all free and yet provide full courses covering JavaScript, C++, SQL, HTML and even Apple’s own Swift language. The courses are well structured and paced with practical tasks included and students even get a certificate upon completion.
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