I was asked to do a review/comparison for an app called ‘Hopscotch‘. The aim of this review was to see if this was a worthy successor of the computer programme called ‘Scratch‘. Unfortunately, this is not the case, but there are a few things that caught my attention. But first though, I did a comparison between Scratch and Hopscotch:
♦ Great design, and easy to follow.
♦ Makes good use of the gyroscopic sensors in the iPad/iPhone.
♦ Great ‘help’ page.
♦ Fun sprites and great addition of text sprites.
♦ Accessible to anyone, especially kids, who will be programming their games in a flash.
♦ While it doesn’t have the full array of orders as Scratch does, it leaves the ones that are most important to kids.
♦ Simple WYSIWYG controls.
♦ Completely free!
♦ You can share your work over e-mail.
♦ As I mentioned already, it doesn’t have all the functions/features Scratch has.
♦ The calibration on touchscreen has to be exact, otherwise it doesn’t register some taps.
♦ Even though the sprites are great, there simply aren’t enough of them to make animations.
♦ Not a substitute for making a full-scale ‘game’, as you are able to in Scratch.
♦ Orders and features are so expansive, you can literally do anything with them.
♦ Plenty of sprites, sounds and game examples are displayed.
♦ Simple WYSIWYG format to let experienced people make functions extremely fast, but also lets kids mess around and make something great.
♦ One feature lets you upload games/animations to the Scratch website, so you can share your work.
♦ It lets you create great games that can range from remakes of old classics, to original games.
♦ There’s a music making feature, which lets you (rather predictably) make music.
♦ The only one I can think of; large array of functions can make it intimidating for newcomers.
As you can see, there is literally nothing bad I can say about Scratch! I think the fact that Scratch is a computer programme really pushed this decision over the edge; with the limited commands of the iPad/iPhone, it makes it hard to compare to Scratch. The keyboard is simply just more accurate than the gyroscopic/touch enabled interface. The limited sprites makes it hard to make animations for a proper game, even though the aim of this app was not really to make people sit down in front of their iPad and play a giant adventure game.
I did a little research on the Internet and I found the blog of the developers, and I found this video:
I also learned that the aim of this Hopscotch project was to bring girls into coding. I researched this further, and I found that over 90% of coders are boys! Ever since the results of that survey came out, there has been a ‘mission’ to bring girls into coding. In CoderDojo, there have been efforts to bring girls into coding, and in the CoderDojo I go to, over 50% of the people who go are girls.
Going back to the Hopscotch app, I think it has accomplished its mission. I can definitely see this appealing to girls. Even when I was testing the app in school, the girls were really interested in it, so I advise anyone who is interested should download it from the App Store (as I said, it’s free). Overall, this app deserves a *puts on dramatic voice* 8 out of 10!
So, to recap:
♦ Great design, and appeals to kids, especially girls.
♦ Fun things are possible with it, and you can create really interactive ‘games’.
♦ Limited possibilities to make ‘proper’ games.
Luke is one of my sixth class pupils, and I think you’ll agree that he did a fantastic job on reviewing an app I just gave to him this morning. He did the review in his own time at home, uploaded it onto his own blog and gave me permission to republish it here. It is a fitting post to be the 3,000th blog post on Seomra Ranga!