In many new national curriculum's around the world coding is being viewed as a new form of literacy as we try to entice kids to become tech creators and not simply tech consumers.
Scratch Jr is the little brother to the very popular Scratch that was released nearly a decade ago by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology or (MIT). Scratch revolutionized coding for kids as it changed lines of irrelevant syntax with variable jigsaw pieces that could be manipulated by students with far more simplicity and success.
Scratch has never worked on the iPad unfortunately and there have been numerous forums discussing the potential of making it happen.
So ScratchJr is now available on the iPad and it is targeted at students aged 5 - 7 years old. It is free.
As young children code with ScratchJr, they learn how to create and express themselves with computers, not just to interact with it. In the process, kid's learn to solve problems and design projects, and they develop sequencing skills that are foundational for later academic success. They also use math and language in a meaningful and motivating context, supporting the development of early-childhood numeracy and literacy.
ScratchJr is somewhat limited in what it can do in comparison to Scratch but then again it's also aimed at a younger audience.
Younger students have no trouble picking up the concepts and the basic skills behind ScratchJr but you will really need to reinforce to them what they are doing with it or else it might just come off as a poor man's animation tool for the iPad.
If student understand they are in fact controlling a computer much like video game makers do they will value the process far more.
ScratchJr is available on iTunes now with Android coming soon.