Saturday, March 15, 2014

Lesson 55 - In the App Store

Today we tried some iPad apps that teach coding skills. We bought Tynker and Move the Turtle for 5 euros or so, which makes this by far the most expensive lesson ever. But education is worth investing right?

The Tynker app has three different "sub-apps", one of which is Sketch Racer, where you must guide a turtle to draw different shapes. The concept of a drawing turtle is of course very familiar to us from Turtle Roy. And the control mechanism is just like in Scratch. You drag pieces of code together to make up the program that moves the turtle. So it was kinda piece of cake to get started with.

I was a bit worried that the big numbers would be a problem. Like, in the very first problem, you had to issue a "Forward 400" command. But fortunately when I showed her that you can use the rulers to measure the lengths of the edges, she got it at once. And started solving problems.

She got as far as the 7th problem. That was the one where you had to use Repeat for the first time. I guess she'll complete the rest of the challenges Sketch Racer challenges later. Then she played Puppy Adventure that she has earlierly completed on the Hour of Code site. And tried the space adventure thingie but that wasn't her thing.

Next up was Move the Turtle. Once again it's about giving commands to a turtle character. But the UI is not very as intuitive for kids. In the Tynker games and Scratch, the building blocks and the available blocks are always shown and clearly indicate which ones fit together. For instance the Repeat block is U-shaped and suggests that you should drag another block inside it.

Trying apps was fun. Maybe we should start writing app reviews and get rich. Naah, next time we'll go command-line and do some TCP/IP hacking with nc.


  1. Check out Light-bot if you haven't. It's quite nice, and it's free. My daughter likes it.

    Then there's also Hopscotch. Haven't tried that yet, but looks promising.

  2. Thanks for the tips! We've played Lightbot on the Hour of Code page already. Hopscotch is one of the apps that people have been talking about. Will try!