15 4 / 2014

The Making of Hopscotch: An Inside Look

The Hopscotch team has been hard at work redesigning the app with a brand new look. The new version will make coding easier and even more fun. It’s so awesome, we can hardly wait to show it to everyone!  

But before we do, we’ll give you an inside look at the making of Hopscotch’s new design. As an added bonus, you get to meet some cool members of the Hopscotch team, and learn what they’re most excited about in the new version.

Francisco working on Dino and Jody:

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"I’m excited about the feature to save scripts as abilities, because they make it easier to understand community projects, and you can reuse them for different characters in the same project." —Francisco

Sam testing out some code on Frog:

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Our founder, Samantha John, explains what she likes best about the new version:

"The redesign puts front and center the power of using iPad inputs in your program- I think kids will have a lot of fun with that!"  —Sam

August and Francisco designing the new code blocks:

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August traveled all the way from Portland, OR to work side by side with us on this new design. Here’s his take on it:

"We all put a little of ourselves into the redesign. We think everyone will appreciate that, and start to see a bit of their own creativity. The new Hopscotch is all about delight, and we made sure every step of the way was fun and exciting for newcomers, but fresh and much more powerful for existing users."  —August

Jason testing out some code on Dino and Monkey:

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"The new Hopscotch lets you make little worlds, where you can create programs for the things that live in them." —Jason

August and Francisco working on the Movement blocks:

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In addition to the new design, the next version of Hopscotch will include some exciting functionality that we’ve all been waiting for. We’ll give you a hint: it’s something fundamental to coding… something that will make it easier to create awesome, complex projects. Can you guess what it is?

We’ll let our founder, Jocelyn Leavitt, reveal the answer, in sharing her favorite part of the new version:

"I’m most excited about the functions!  And also the new look." — Jocelyn

That’s right, Hopscotchers! You asked, and you shall receive. The next release will include functions, making it easier to save and repeat sections of code. Inside Hopscotch, functions will be called “abilities”.  You’ll be able to create your own abilities and reuse them for different characters within your project.

As for me, (Oh hi, I’m Diana - the Community Manager that answers your emails and tweets. Nice to meet you!) I’d have to say my favorite thing about the new look is the way the characters start out as pencil sketches in edit mode, and then come to life as full color animations on the stage. It’s almost like watching the making of a Pixar movie,… except that you’re coding your own movie! 

The new version of Hopscotch will hit the App Store sometime next month.  Stay tuned!

Written by Diana Taykhman

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24 3 / 2014

Resources to Get Kids into Coding

There’s no denying that learning to code is essential for kids these days… 

Thanks to @iPadWells in Auckland, NZ for this great photo.

These Are the Skills Students Learn from Coding

Resources for Teaching Coding in Early Years

No, Learning to Code Won’t Instantly Make You Rich, but That’s Not Why You Should Do it

Got an iPad? Great. Here are some ways to get started:

Etch-A-Sketch projects courtesy of @markshillitoe in Switzerland.

Help Students Write Their Future with These Coding Tutorial Apps

Hopscotch Challenges: Learn to Code on an iPad! [Kindle Edition]

5 Good Ipad Apps to Teach Kids Programming

Trust us - once kids get the hang of coding, there’s no limit to where their creativity can take them. Animations, games, stories…

Thanks for this photo, @ncingiser!

Use Hopscotch App to Make Flappy Birds and Other Games

7 Year-old Computer Programmers!

Finding Balance: Digital Dominoes with Hopscotch

Got other links to share with fellow parents and teachers? Add them in the comments section below!

Written by Diana Taykhman

19 3 / 2014

Seeking Visual Designer

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Hello friends of Hopscotch!  Please share this post with talented designers you know that may be interested in this role.

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Hopscotch is building a visual programming language on the iPad that needs to be as beautiful as it is functional. We’re a small team of six working to empower kids to become digital makers. We’re looking for a mobile UI designer who is excited about our mission and looking forward to making a big impact on the product.

What you’ll be doing:

  • working closely with the team to whiteboard ideas and produce quick lo-fi testing prototypes.
  • turning wireframes into beautiful, pixel-perfect comps.
  • expressing a visual style that kids understand and adults appreciate.
  • offering strong opinions about color, iconography and mobile UI animation.
  • joining playtesting sessions and watching how kids use your product.

If this sounds like something you’d like to hear more about, get in touch! We’re a passionate, fun and slightly weird crew, and Hopscotch has already won awards, been featured by Apple, and used by kids in over 100 countries. We can date via a freelance project or two before jumping into a full blown committed relationship.

Download Hopscotch on the iPad at hop.sc/gethopscotch. Email us at designer@gethopscotch.com. Position is based in NYC. Let us know if you or anyone you know is interested!

27 2 / 2014

Kids Week at the Intrepid Museum

The Hopscotch team had a blast participating in STEM weekend at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, part of Kids Week 2014.

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We met so many awesome kids (and parents!) over the course of the weekend.

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Some lucky kids got a glimpse of a new version we’re working on, which includes multi-level challenges.  Lots of creative coding went on too. Check out some of these great moments we captured…

Experimenting with different code blocks

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Hard at work on a text object

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Solving the challenge

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Swag on our tables (you can never have too many Hopscotch stickers!)

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Oh yeah, another fun thing that happened… these guys were there too!

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Were you at the Intrepid during Kids Week?  What did you think of the event?  Tell us all about it in the comments section below.

Written by Diana Taykhman

14 2 / 2014

This 7-y.o. Girl Can Teach You a Thing or Two About Programming

Get ready for this — a 7-year-old girl is about to blow your mind.  

We can’t help but gush at the poignant observations Fitzgerald Steele’s daughter made about programming after spending an hour using Hopscotch. Lucky for us, this smart little girl has summarized her insights in a neat little list that we should all pause and think about.

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Is that somethin’, or what?  She’s spot on, on all five counts.  

Fitzgerald tells us this was his daughter’s first programming lesson.  He asked her to write down instructions on how to draw a square, and then use Hopscotch to make one.  After that, they tried a triangle.  

It was fun to see the ‘lightbulb’ come on as she tried different blocks, failed, tried something else.  It was really fun to watch her discover debugging.  She quickly learned not to do too much work before testing it out."  

At the end, she was asked to write down what she remembered from the lesson — and voila! — a list that captures the essence of computer programming.  We’re humbled to have played a part in helping this young lady understand what programming is really all about.    

To the seasoned computer scientists out there: what else would you add to this list?

Written by Diana Taykhman

03 2 / 2014

Seeking Junior Team Member

Hopscotch is looking for someone smart and idealistic to join our team on the operational side of things.  We’re expanding rapidly and need help.  There is a ton of growth potential in this role—the right person has a do-whatever-it-takes attitude and is excited to get in on the ground floor and grow with the company.  Position is based in NYC.  Any leads?  Send them here!

27 1 / 2014

Keep Calm and Remix On

The new Hopscotch community is a place where you can upload your projects and download other users’ projects to play and remix. Some Hopscotchers are unhappy about their projects being remixed by others. We get it! You deserve credit for your awesome work. We understand the pride of ownership that you feel when you code up a really cool project and share it for all to see.

But before you start to feel like your work was ‘copied’ or ‘stolen’, check this out: The Four Freedoms

In the early nineties, a prescient hacker named Richard Stallman… proposed a set of four freedoms that were fundamental for software in an enlightened, tech-dependent society:

  • The freedom to run the program, for any purpose.
  • The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish.
  • The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor.
  • The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions, giving the community a chance to benefit from your changes.

We love that last one, and that’s what the Hopscotch community is all about.

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Think about it: sharing ideas and learning from each other makes us all better programmers and results in better projects. We fully encourage everyone in the Hopscotch community to remix projects — add your own unique spin to someone else’s code and take part in making the Hopscotch community as great as it can be.  

So here’s our advice, coders: keep calm… and REMIX on!  

Written by Diana Taykhman

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14 1 / 2014

Sorry For All The Monkey Business!

Dearest Hopscotchers:

If you uploaded or downloaded projects in the Hopscotch community over the weekend, you may have noticed something kinda strange: a sly little monkey hiding in the bottom left corner of each project.  Additionally, you may have experienced some crashing of the app.  (D’oh!)  We’re so sorry about that!  

Turns out, those two issues were related to a nasty bug that our all-star tech team has successfully uncovered.  Don’t worry, our devs are working tirelessly to fix these issues ASAP so that you can go back to uninhibited exploring in the Hopscotch community.  

As of this writing, you should have no issues with uploading and downloading community projects.  However, if you downloaded any community projects between last Thursday, 1/9 and Monday, 1/13, we recommend deleting those projects from your gallery.  (You can do this by going inside the project and clicking on the button at the top with three horizontal lines.  A drop-down menu will appear, and from there you can choose ‘Delete’.)

Thanks for being patient with us as we iron out these issues.  Now… how ‘bout getting started on your next coding project?

Written by Diana Taykhman