15 5 / 2013
We <3 Tiny Bop
Knowing that you could look under hood was a big part of what drove the generation that created today’s digital culture. But today’s kids are growing up with black boxes—compiled smartphones apps and a web that is largely made up of cloud based applications (versus simple pages). Looking under the hood at how a page is built or a program works is not easy any more. So it’s important to ask how today’s kids will develop the skills they need for a digital world. How do you code, if there are no digital playgrounds? I believe part of the answer is reintroducing the idea of programming languages built for kids—languages that produce real, executable code.
09 5 / 2013
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28 4 / 2013
Our first week in the wild
So, we launched Hopscotch last week, and it’s been quite a ride since. It’s been downloaded more than 20,000 times, we cracked the Top 10 iPad Education apps, and were featured in New and Noteworthy on the App Store. After the initial press we got all sorts of other great coverage on various ed tech blogs. We’ve had folks volunteering to translate it into nine different languages. We’ve had some totally awesome projects sent to us by parents and kids. And perhaps most importantly, we’ve begun our process of refining our feature set based on real data and feedback.
A lot of people have asked for if/then statements and variables, negative random numbers and collision detection (if one character touches another character, then run a script). A lot of people have also asked for ways to post and share projects. I had been agitating for message passing (notifications) as a way for the different characters to interact with each other—interestingly enough, nearly no one has asked for that.
Also, not as many people as we expected have asked for more tutorials and hand holding. This is probably because the ones that don’t immediately understand Hopscotch bounce before ever even giving us feedback. This is something we will be working on in the coming months as well.
Our users will be happy to hear that the next release of Hopscotch, which we hope to submit to the app store in the next couple of weeks, will included the ability to pick parameters for random numbers, program random colors, and include a sound event (“When I hear a loud noise”).
Until then, have fun, send us your projects, and make cool stuff!!
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19 4 / 2013
Whew! Our baby got off the ground!
We’re still reeling a bit from our launch on Tuesday evening. We got some great media coverage. We also got this amazing chocolate cake with a Hopscotch interface frosting from Andy and Zach. And by Wednesday, Hopscotch had cracked the Top 10 education apps in the App Store.
Email and tweets continue to flow in, and we can barely keep up. Lots of requests for translations into other languages. We’ll put up a wiki or google doc or something so volunteers can help us with translations.
Everyone has been so positive and enthusiastic—we want to write back to them all and say “We’re only getting started! If you like this, just wait!”
Here are some of the great media links:
Thanks everyone for your support so far. We are so excited to be out in the world.
15 4 / 2013
Final Countdown to Beta Release
We’re so excited to announce that the beta release of Hopscotch has been approved for the App Store! We’re going to demo at the All Things D conference on Tuesday (tomorrow) and release to the App Store after that.
To catch everyone up: for nearly the past year, we’ve been building an iPad programming language called Hopscotch. We’re super proud of all the work we’ve done so far. We’ve designed it specifically for teaching kids to code, and have been very inspired by Scratch to that end.
Hopscotch allows you to create an interactive program on the iPad by dragging blocks of code and dropping them into a scripting area. No typing required. For this first release we focused our efforts on creating an intuitive and beautiful programming experience.
We’re not aware of any other products quite like ours. No other programming language has been designed to be used on a mobile interface. So I think we can safely say that, in addition to making a beautiful and “addictive” product, we’ve also built the first language made specifically to be programmed on a mobile device. That’s something that we’re really proud of.
Right now the language is still a work in progress. We need if statements and variables to make Hopscotch Turing complete. We also want to do a lot more with hints and tutorials to make the experience of learning how to use the different blocks of code as seamless and unintimidating as possible. We know that people love to share their own creations, and while they can email projects right now, we want to build a better mechanism for doing this.
We’re excited to see what our early users come up with. We built Hopscotch so that the kids who use our app can fall in love with programming. We hope, with this beta release, that we’re starting on the right foot.
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12 4 / 2013