Visual Programming Tools

Some tools for visual programming

  • Squeakland – EToys
  • Scratch Programming
  • Ap Inventor
  • Lego Mindstorms

Objects To Think With

Young children learn best by experimentation and play. Kids are wired to grasp, drop, stack, and smash the world around them, often without adult encouragement.Problems start when students are taught things they can’t see or touch. Math and grammar are difficult because they’re less real than wooden blocks.Visual Programming tools make abstractions more palpable, allowing children to visualize and explore new ideas.

Squeakland – Etoys
View a video on which shows Sqeakland and discusses pedagogy of learning  For the Sqeakland section start the video at 12.17

Scratch Programming

Scratch is a programming language that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art — and share your creations on the web.As young people create and share Scratch projects, they learn important mathematical and computational ideas, while also learning to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively.

Educators – Information for educators using ScratchNews – Stories about Scratch in the mediaResearch – Papers and presentations about Scratch

App Inventor

In July, Google announced the launch of the Android App Inventor. App Inventor uses building blocks, of sorts, to help you design your own Android applications. Like Scratch, the App Inventor has roots at MIT, as the project was led by Professor Harold Abelson, quoted in a New York Times interview as saying that the goal of the App Inventor “is to enable people to become creators, not just consumers, in this mobile world.”

App Inventor is still in closed beta, but it was mentioned in our survey of teachers’ most anticipated back-to-school tech tools. If you’re interested in App Inventor, the Google Group is very active.


Alice is a free and open source 3D programming environment designed to teach students object-oriented and event-driven programming. In Alice, students drag and drop graphic tiles in order to animate an object and create a program. A variant of Alice, Storytelling Alice was developed by Caitlin Kelleher as part of her doctoral work in Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. By emphasizing animations and social interactions, this approach was found to greatly increase the level of student interest in programming.

Lego Mindstorms

Lego was recently voted the “most popular toy ever,” and despite all the wounds from stepping on my son’s Legos while barefoot, I am still remarkably fond of the toy. Add programmable robotics to the mix, and you have Lego Mindstorms.

There are numerous other programs aimed at the K-12 level, including Small Basic, CHERP, Kodu, and of course  BASIC.


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