Daisy the DinosaurI came across a recommendation from Paul Hamilton on Twitter for the “Daisy the Dinosaur” app and thought teachers might be interested in it. It is an app for younger pupils to help them to learn their first steps in coding/programming. It really is a very basic version of Scratch or Hopscotch. Within the app, there are two play modes: Free-Play and Challenge. In Free-Play mode, there are some basic coding blocks, similar to Scratch, which allow Daisy the Dinosaur to move on screen. Commands include move, turn, grow, shrink, jump, roll and spin. There is also a “when” command which allows pupils to determine a particular course of action. So, for example, Daisy can be programmed to grow when touched. There are lots of ways that younger pupils can get experience in very basic coding using this mode in the app.

Once younger pupils are comfortable with how the Free-Play mode works, they can try the Challenge mode. Pupils are presented with challenges to get Daisy to move in a particular way or to move to a particular place on the stage screen. These challenges will see whether they have mastered the basic concepts learned in Free-Play mode. The Challenge mode would also be great for developing problem-solving skills. Younger pupils could start learning to code using this app and then progress to Hopscotch and then on to Scratch.

This is a free app available for iPad. There is not as yet a version for Android devices. This video gives an idea of how the app works: