Hopscotch 12/13/13

<p><img alt="" src="/sites/tccsa.net/files/images/ProfessionalDevelopment/App%20Archive/2013/coding/hopscotch_icon.JPG" style="width: 100px; height: 101px; border-width: 0px; border-style: solid; margin: 3px; float: left;" />I vaguely remember being in 7<sup>th</sup> grade in my first computer class typing GO TO statements for hours to draw a black cat sitting on a picket fence. Fast forward to an elective in college and I get my second opportunity to dabble with programming in a &lsquo;Turbo Pascal&rsquo; class where I annoyed the lab monitors with a million questions just to get my Jeopardy theme song just right. My third shot, learning Flash Action Scripting filled with IF THEN statements, has put a permanent mark on my professional career. My past experiences got me where I am today, in a job I absolutely love. This week my app review focuses on an app that teaches how to write code in a much easier method than writing &lsquo;go to&rsquo; or &lsquo;if then&rsquo; statements.</p>
<p>Hopscotch is a programming language made for the iPad that is made to make learning to code fun for children ages eight and up. Hopscotch is the first programming language natively made for the iPad. Learning about programming through their drag &amp; drop method can help students prepare, and become more confident when learning a type based programming language. Learning about programming can also help your students learn what goes into making the iPad work. With familiar controls like tap, shake and tilt, students can command characters to move, draw lines, change in size and more.</p>
<p><img alt="" src="/sites/tccsa.net/files/images/ProfessionalDevelopment/App%20Archive/2013/coding/hopscotch_characters.jpg" style="width: 216px; height: 128px; border-width: 0px; border-style: solid; margin: 3px; float: right;" /></p>
<p>Are you ready to dismiss this app because you don&rsquo;t have an iPad, or don&rsquo;t see why coding is important? Keep reading you may just change your mind. By the year 2020 there will be 1.4 million computer science jobs but only 400,000 people to fill those jobs. There are several coding apps out there. Hopscotch is only one of them. <a href="https://www.gethopscotch.com/">https://www.gethopscotch.com/</a></p>
<p>You can even learn how to code through a website like Code.org. <a href="http://csedweek.org/learn">http://csedweek.org/learn</a></p>
<p>Hopscotch provides a color coded visual way to build code. Students start by adding an Object to command. The menu of commands is in a bank to the left. Drag and drop a command to the right of the screen. The default trigger to start a command is &ldquo;When Play button is tapped&rdquo;. Other triggers include shaking the iPad, tapping the stage, tilting the iPad and tapping the character. Using the built in microphone a loud noise can activate the sound trigger. The last trigger, collision, can be the most fun because it applies cause &amp; effect to the character(s) on screen. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p>
<p><img alt="" src="/sites/tccsa.net/files/images/ProfessionalDevelopment/App%20Archive/2013/coding/hopscotch_stage.jpg" style="width: 360px; height: 270px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 3px; float: left;" /><img alt="" src="/sites/tccsa.net/files/images/ProfessionalDevelopment/App%20Archive/2013/coding/hopscotch_settings.jpg" style="width: 360px; height: 194px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 3px; float: left;" />The user interface is very intuitive. It&rsquo;s easy to find the play button, add characters and locate the help menu. The one item that took me a while to discover was the starting position of each character. When you add a character you are presented with the open script screen. Swipe down and you will reveal the starting position and the X Y coordinates. It&rsquo;s also important to view this part of the script so you know how big the stage is (700x900) You don&rsquo;t want to program your character off screen (which is something I accidentally did).</p>
<p>Very quickly I had a gorilla centered on stage. I could make him draw on screen by tilting my iPad. Fans of the Etch-a-sketch will recognize the similarity between the original drawing toy with this new &lsquo;upgraded&rsquo; technique.</p>
<p>Coding popped up on my radar because I was &lsquo;listening in&rsquo; on a group who was sharing information about programming and coding. I learned about Code.org a while back but I didn&rsquo;t realize that this was Computer Science Education Week (December 9-15). Now that we&rsquo;re at the end of the week, as of this post, I&rsquo;ll have to make a note to catch this next event next year. This year over 5 million individuals participated in the Hour of Code. <a href="http://csedweek.org/learn">http://csedweek.org/learn</a> The idea behind this project is that any teacher can teach computer science for one hour. If you&rsquo;re like me and missed the event this year you can still teach the &ldquo;Hour of Code&rdquo; all year-round. Their tutorials work on browsers, tablets, smartphones or even &ldquo;unplugged&rdquo; (meaning you don&rsquo;t have computers)</p>
<p>So, 1.4 million jobs sounds like a lot and you&rsquo;re probably thinking those jobs are in Silicon Valley; however, in Ohio alone there are 16,358 open computing jobs (growing at 3.6x the state average). There are 1,316 computer science graduates and only 139 schools teach computer science. The need is real, right here in our own state. Read more about Computer Science Education in Ohio: <a href="http://csedweek.org/files/states/OH.pdf">http://csedweek.org/files/state...
<p>Watch this video to find out more about Hopscotch from one of the co-creators when Hopscotch was first released in April 2013.&nbsp;<a href="http://on.wsj.com/111eOwR" target="_blank">http://on.wsj.com/111eOwR</a></p>
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