Category Archives: Programming

Software Programming Languages for Education

Software programming languages for education range from drag and drop graphical software like Scratch to Small Basic and Python. This page lists programming software geared towards students as young as kindergarten (Turtle Art) on up. Many are visual programming environments where kids can combine blocks to create software. Others, like Codea, allow you to actually code, in that case with Lua. Still other languages, like Code Spell, Run Marco!, The Foos, and World of Codecraft, teach programming skills while kids are engaged in an online game.

The main difference between “block” languages and “real” languages? Block languages let kids create things without having to learn syntax and other details. They can graduate to languages with syntax more easily when they understand basic programming concepts.

Also note these languages work for parents who want to learn and play with their kids, as well as kids who want to learn at their own speed.


Alice teaches programming concepts as kids create animated movies with its friendly interface and storytelling.

All Can Code (Run Marco!)

Teaches programming in a fun adventure game. An original story with beautiful artwork, designed for 6 to 12 y.o. kids by a team of experts in computer programming, game design, and teaching technology in schools. Translated into 13 languages. Works on tablet, phone, web.!/id919554969

App Inventor

This software programming language for education to build Android applications with a drag and drop visual environment.

Beta the Robot



Made with the Codea iPad application, a game to teach programming concepts.

Codea (iPad)

Code Combat

Codeletics NEW

Code with Bolt

Bolt is a complete language that runs entirely (and safely) in the browser. It’s a language explicitly designed for kids, and comes with worked examples that map to the UK curriculum for KS 2/3 and beyond.

Daisy the Dinosaur

An iPad app from the people who bring you Hopscotch.

Erase All Kittens (E.A.K.)

An amusing story makes it easy for kids to learn about HTML and the coding process.

Gamemaker Studio

Requires a little more effort but this is a more professional game development system.

GameStar Mechanic

Teaches computer science concepts around coding.

Hakitsu Elite

This iPad application teaches JavaScript through a robot game.

Hopscotch (iPad)


An educational iPad game providing a kid friendly introduction to programming concepts and problem solving to kids 5 and up.


From Microsoft, this visual programming language works on the PC and XBox.

LearnToMod NEW

Light Bot

Light-bot is an engaging puzzle game that lets players gain a practical understanding of basic control-flow concepts like procedures, loops, and conditionals, just by guiding a robot with commands to light up tiles and solve levels.


From 1960s, a language geared towards children and serious adult computing. Ideas are incorporated into Scratch, Move the Turtle, and other languages.


A small team of educators and programmers in the US and Finland make it easy for kids to build and learn with Minecraft.

Move the Turtle

This iPad application teaches programming concepts and coding in a highly visual way.

Pocket Code

Create your own games, apps, and music videos with this Android app.

Project Spark!

On Microsoft Windows and XBox, kids can play and create using tools provided by Project Spark. Active community and lots of guides and tutorials.


RAPTOR is a flowchart-based programming environment, designed specifically to help students visualize their algorithms.

Robo Logic

This iPad application uses blocks coded with logic to let kids control a robot.


Kids learn logic, computer science, and robotics by building a robot.

Ruby for Kids


Small Basic

From Microsoft, a cut down version of Basic to teach programming to kids and adults. Includes lots of tutorials. For Windows computers.


A port of Scratch, from the University of California at Berkeley.


Programming language for Sphero robots, which are also fun.


Uses a visual programming language to create cross-platform applications for almost any platform. Stencyl software works on Mac, Windows, and Ubuntu/Linux.

The Foos

Kids can play and have fun while learning the basics of coding plus problem solving, critical thinking, and other skills.

Try Ruby

Toon Talk


Microsoft’s really easy to learn and use software for teaching kids how to program and create software. Great for hackathons and coding in large groups.

Turtle Art

Geared towards the wee ones, little kids, who can create really neat artwork and other fun stuff.

Turtle Academy


This software programming language for education is a hosted drag and drop programming tailored towards classroom teaching of programming and computer science. Also have an iPad version of their curriculum.


Waterbear is a toolkit for making programming more accessible and fun.

World of Codecraft

Coming soon, Wired did a piece on this project from North Carolina State University in Raleigh.

Top image nicked from Hopscotch website.



Tablets in schools: coding, creativity and the importance of teachers

From September, coding will be part of the primary and secondary education curriculum in the UK, as part of wider changes designed to boost computer literacy alongside reading, writing and maths skills for British children.

Some independent schools are already providing a glimpse at the potential. Which is why I recently found myself in Cambridge, watching a classroom of Year 5 girls – 9-10 year-olds – practising their programming skills on iPad apps like Hopscotch, Move the Turtle and Kodable. Continue reading Tablets in schools: coding, creativity and the importance of teachers

Coding in the Classroom: A Long-Overdue Inclusion

One need not look to superstars such as Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates to justify reasons for using code and programming logic in the classroom. There’s plenty of literature that illustrates its positive learning outcomes. Coding in the classroom is linked to improved problem solving and analytical reasoning, and students who develop a mastery of coding have a “natural ability and drive to construct, hypothesize, explore, experiment, evaluate, and draw conclusions.”

But there are other compelling reasons for integrating code in the classroom. Continue reading Coding in the Classroom: A Long-Overdue Inclusion

The most popular programming languages are rapidly changing

Technology moves fast, particularly on the software side, as Stack Overflow’s annual survey of developers demonstrates. The popular Q&A site for people who write code released results this week from a poll of more than 25,000 developers, who were queried on everything from their country of origin to their caffeine consumption to the programming languages they use most.

Responses to the latter question show there’s been a pretty rapid shift just since 2013. Javascript has been the most popular for the past two years. But SQL, which used to surpass it, has dropped off substantially, as have many of the C languages. The biggest growers have been Node.js and AngularJS: Continue reading The most popular programming languages are rapidly changing

A Brief, Incomplete, and Mostly Wrong History of Programming Languages

1801 – Joseph Marie Jacquard uses punch cards to instruct a loom to weave “hello, world” into a tapestry. Redditers of the time are not impressed due to the lack of tail call recursion, concurrency, or proper capitalization.

1842 – Ada Lovelace writes the first program. She is hampered in her efforts by the minor inconvenience that she doesn’t have any actual computers to run her code. Enterprise architects will later relearn her techniques in order to program in UML.

1936 – Alan Turing invents every programming language that will ever be but is shanghaied by British Intelligence to be 007 before he can patent them. Continue reading A Brief, Incomplete, and Mostly Wrong History of Programming Languages

The Forgotten Female Programmers Who Created Modern Tech

Jean Jennings (left) and Frances Bilas set up the ENIAC in 1946. Bilas is arranging the program settings on the Master Programmer. (Courtesy of University of Pennsylvania)

If your image of a computer programmer is a young man, there’s a good reason: It’s true. Recently, many big tech companies revealed how few of their female employees worked in programming and technical jobs. Google had some of the highest rates: 17 percent of its technical staff is female.

It wasn’t always this way. Decades ago, it was women who pioneered computer programming — but too often, that’s a part of history that even the smartest people don’t know.