Just a decade or two ago, coding was a relatively unknown skill, but massive advances have now brought technology to the forefront of almost every industry. Since working with more technology is inevitable for virtually all of us in the future, learning to code is a valuable tool and an investment in your future too. That being said, however, many different coding languages exist and getting started can seem overwhelming.
Thankfully, user-friendly apps and languages have started to make coding almost like playing a game. One such app, Tickle, strives to introduce simple coding rules to kids and teens. Also an effective way to learn for adult beginner programmers, this app goes far beyond teaching users the basics, and will have you familiar with coding syntax in no time.
Visual coding approach
The unique Tickle app brings a new approach to programming by organizing commands into visual elements. This lets users learn basic concepts without needing to memorize complicated syntax. In this way, users learn functions much faster.
Jackie Wang, co-founder of the app, states, “We want to make programming education more fun and freely accessible to everyone.” The app’s layout certainly supports this goal, since users are encouraged to play with code, rather than just learn the rules. Not only that, the app is designed for multitouch gestures, so controlling each element is straightforward and intuitive.
Tickle brings visual control to coding elements, letting users rearrange buttons to build commands. The app lets users create games and interactive stories, as well as control smart toys and smart objects around the home.
The user friendly interface breaks down commands into easy-to-access sections, such as sounds, looks, data, and events. This makes complicated commands easy to comprehend and implement. This way, users experience the excitement of their coding coming to life immediately.
After a little practice, kids can jump right into controlling smart toys and designing basic games, making the app an efficient tool. Intended primarily for older children and young teens, Tickle is the perfect mobile app to learn the basics behind coding.
Tickle introduces the concepts of coding by teaching users the programming language Scratch 2.0. As the creator of Scratch, Professor Mitchel Resnick of MIT, once said, “Coding is the new literacy.” Especially for beginners, there’s no faster way to become coding literate than by learning Scratch. This language breaks complicated commands down into fill-in-the-blank-like sentences. Reminiscent of Mad Libs, Scratch 2.0 is likely the fastest, most uncomplicated way to learn computer languages and syntax.
By putting a user interface on top of coding language, users can learn the basic rules of computer programming without technical know-how. In turn, knowing these basics then makes learning other languages much faster. This is particularly valuable when teaching kids how to code, because memorizing endless syntax rules usually doesn’t appeal to a 10-year-old. On the other hand, Scratch 2.0 is intended as a beginner language, so real-world coding knowledge requires delving into other languages like HTML and CSS. For beginners however, Scratch 2.0 can be incredibly valuable.
Since programming knowledge is required in an increasing number of industries, learning the basics early on should really be considered essential. For now, Tickle is available only on iOS, but Android development is reportedly next on the list for release in spring 2015.
The app is available in English Japanese, French, Spanish, German, Catalan, and Dutch, and was successfully funded on their Kickstarter.com page in September 2014. Tickle is expected to be available late fall 2014 on the iPad, though the price is still unknown. Judging from company statements, however, the app is meant to be available for everyone, which hints at a low priced or free app.