At my school, coding is done during classes in the Computer Lab which means it’s typically done on desktop computers. As I have mentioned in the past, my students often use Scratch to create games and to show what they know in other curricular areas. I do have a couple of iPads and a few Android tablets that I can and do use with students. For events like the Hour of Code, I will also sometimes borrow tablets from parents for student use. I am always on the lookout for coding apps on tablets and mostly on iPads because that’s what I can usually borrow.
I also do presentations and training sessions on coding at tech fairs and conferences. I always say that coding can be used across the curriculum to let students show what they know using code and I firmly believe this is true. In order to use coding across the curriculum, it is helpful for coding apps (and websites) to allow students to:
- Tell stories which means sprites (characters) must be able to be customized and must be able to interact with other sprites (characters)
- Create quizzes (and games) which means there should be a way to notify if a question is answered correctly or not or if a game is won or lost; often this means a way to keep score
- Use math calculations
- Draw pictures with code
- Import custom images and sounds
Since many schools these days have 1:1 iPads, I am often asked about block-based coding on iPads. Okay, to be honest, the question I am usually asked is, “Can I run Scratch on the iPad?”
Unfortunately, since Scratch is written in Flash, it doesn’t run on the iPad or most other tablets. There are other block-based coding options that run on the iPad (and some on Android tablets, as well) but none I have found have all of the capabilities that Scratch does for creating cross-curricular projects.
Here are some block-based coding apps that I use and recommend. These all let students create projects starting with a blank canvas:
Do you have a block-based coding app or website (that runs on the Safari or Chrome browser on an iPad) that you feel is a perfect replacement for Scratch on the iPad? Please share!