Software Programming Languages for Education

Software programming languages for education range from drag and drop graphical software like Scratch to Small Basic and Python. This page lists programming software geared towards students as young as kindergarten (Turtle Art) on up. Many are visual programming environments where kids can combine blocks to create software. Others, like Codea, allow you to actually code, in that case with Lua. Still other languages, like Code Spell, Run Marco!, The Foos, and World of Codecraft, teach programming skills while kids are engaged in an online game.

The main difference between “block” languages and “real” languages? Block languages let kids create things without having to learn syntax and other details. They can graduate to languages with syntax more easily when they understand basic programming concepts.

Also note these languages work for parents who want to learn and play with their kids, as well as kids who want to learn at their own speed.

Alice

Alice teaches programming concepts as kids create animated movies with its friendly interface and storytelling.
http://www.alice.org

App Inventor

This software programming language for education to build Android applications with a drag and drop visual environment.
http://www.appinventor.org/

Blockly

http://code.google.com/p/blockly/

CargoBot

Made with the Codea iPad application, a game to teach programming concepts.
http://twolivesleft.com/CargoBot/
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/cargo-bot/id519690804?ls=1&mt=8

Codea (iPad)

http://twolivesleft.com/Codea/
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/codea/id439571171?mt=8

Code Combat

http://codecombat.com/

Code with Bolt

Bolt is a complete language that runs entirely (and safely) in the browser. It’s a language explicitly designed for kids, and comes with worked examples that map to the UK curriculum for KS 2/3 and beyond.
http://www.codewithbolt.com/

Daisy the Dinosaur

An iPad app from the people who bring you Hopscotch.
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/daisy-the-dinosaur/id490514278

Erase All Kittens (E.A.K.)

An amusing story makes it easy for kids to learn about HTML and the coding process.
http://www.eraseallkittens.com

Gamemaker Studio

Requires a little more effort but this is a more professional game development system.
https://www.gamemaker.io

GameStar Mechanic

Teaches computer science concepts around coding.
http://gamestarmechanic.com/

Hopscotch (iPad)

http://www.gethopscotch.com/
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/hopscotch-hd/id617098629?mt=8

Kodable

An educational iPad game providing a kid friendly introduction to programming concepts and problem solving to kids 5 and up.
http://www.surfscore.com/

Kodu

From Microsoft, this visual programming language works on the PC and XBox.
http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/projects/kodu/

LearnToMod New

http://www.learntomod.com/

LOGO

From 1960s, a language geared towards children and serious adult computing. Ideas are incorporated into Scratch, Move the Turtle, and other languages.
http://el.media.mit.edu/logo-foundation/products/software.html

MinecraftEdu

A small team of educators and programmers in the US and Finland make it easy for kids to build and learn with Minecraft.
http://education.minecraft.net/

Move the Turtle

This iPad application teaches programming concepts and coding in a highly visual way.
http://movetheturtle.com/
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/move-turtle.-programming-for/id509013878?ls=1&mt=8

Pocket Code

Create your own games, apps, and music videos with this Android app.
https://catrob.at/pocketcode/
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.catrobat.catroid

RAPTOR

RAPTOR is a flowchart-based programming environment, designed specifically to help students visualize their algorithms.
http://raptor.martincarlisle.com/

RoboMind

Kids learn logic, computer science, and robotics by building a robot.
http://www.robomindacademy.net/robomind/

Scratch

http://scratch.mit.edu/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scratch_%28programming_language%29

Small Basic

From Microsoft, a cut down version of Basic to teach programming to kids and adults. Includes lots of tutorials. For Windows computers.
http://smallbasic.com/
http://visualstudiomagazine.com/articles/2011/12/01/get-em-while-theyre-young.aspx

Snap

A port of Scratch, from the University of California at Berkeley.
http://snap.berkeley.edu/snapsource/snap.html

Spherly

Programming language for Sphero robots, which are also fun.
http://outreach.cs.ua.edu/spherly/

Stencyl

Uses a visual programming language to create cross-platform applications for almost any platform. Stencyl software works on Mac, Windows, and Ubuntu/Linux.
http://stencyl.com/

The Foos

Kids can play and have fun while learning the basics of coding plus problem solving, critical thinking, and other skills.
http://thefoos.com/
http://thefoos.com/play/
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/foos-code-for-hour-edition/id923441570?mt=8&uo=4
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.codespark.thefoos

Toon Talk

http://www.toontalk.com/

Turtle Art

Geared towards the wee ones, little kids, who can create really neat artwork and other fun stuff.
http://turtleart.org/

Turtle Academy

http://www.turtleacademy.com/

Tynker

This software programming language for education is a hosted drag and drop programming tailored towards classroom teaching of programming and computer science. Also have an iPad version of their curriculum.
http://www.tynker.com/
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tynker-learn-programming-visual/id805869467

WaterBear

Waterbear is a toolkit for making programming more accessible and fun.
http://waterbearlang.com/

World of Codecraft

A project from North Carolina State University in Raleigh.
http://www.codecraftgame.org/

Top image nicked from Hopscotch website.