Programming Tools for Students

 

Update 11/8/2017
There’s been some changes since this list first came out in 2012.  While these tools all still do a fine job of introducing children to programming, newer, more modern products have rolled out since this was first published.  Currently, our favorite online programming tool is BitsBox.   You can read our review and see it in action here..

1. Hackety Hack

Great for beginners, this site offers the absolute basics of programming from the ground up, with no previous programming experience required. Simple toolkits, technical support and online lessons make it a great way for students to get started.

 

2. Light-Bot

Great for younger students who might not be able to grasp full programming just yet, this game allows users to control a robot using programmer-style logic and commands. (Update: You do need Flash enabled to use it which can be a bit of a problem on Chrome.)

 

3. Logo

One of the best tried-and-tested programming languages, Logo lets students enjoy great results from very simple commands, making it an ideal early learning technique when introducing kids to programming.

 

4. Scratch

This great site from MIT has its own simple-to-use programming language that makes it easy for students to learn to create their own interactive stories, animations, games, music and art and share their creations on the web!

 

5. Simple

The clue is in the name! This free downloadable programming language designed specially for kids is an extremely simple way to get started. Programming challenges, tips and ready-made games make it easy to progress.

Programming is an Art

6. Stencyl

Ideal for those who feel they aren’t yet ready to learn to code, (though it does have a coding option for those who are) this site encourages users to create their own iOS and Flash games, which can then be used on either Windows or Mac.

 

7. Sodaplay

A great online programming tool with thousands of examples from other users to explore and enjoy for inspiration before embarking on your own creations.

 

8. Game Maker

Suitable for a range of programming expertise, from novices to more seasoned creators, this platform’s free downloadable studio allows students to create their own unique platform-style games.

 

9. Codeacademy

The unique selling point of this great program is that it focuses on the individual user, taking students through step-by-step lessons so they can measure their own progress and enabling them to communicate and compare steps with their friends.

 

10. Alice

This free educational software allows students to learn everything from programming basics to computational thinking and problem solving in an exciting 3D programming environment that makes it easy to create animations and games.

 

What programming tools for students have you found engage and excite budding Mark Zuckerbergs and Bill Gates? Let us know below what works for your class and children?

 

Images courtesy of Flickr: San Jose Libraryjurvetson

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