Friday, June 16, 2017

Snap - A Great Way for Students to Try Programming

Earlier this week I Tweeted that anyone who is going to the ISTE conference in San Antonio needs to put Gary Stager's presentation titled Logo at 50: Children, Computers and Powerful Ideas on his or her calendar. Understanding the development of Logo is key to understanding how many of the programming apps we have in classrooms today came to be. One of those programs is Snap.

Snap! is a drag-and-drop programming interface designed to help students learn to program. Snap! uses a visual interface that works in your browser on your laptop as well as on your iPad or Android tablet. To design a program in Snap! drag commands into a sequence in the scripts panel. The commands are represented by labeled jigsaw puzzle pieces that snap together to create a program. You can try to run your program at any time to see how it will be executed. After previewing your program you can go back and add or delete pieces as you see fit.

Snap! may remind some people of Scratch. That is because the Snap! developers call their program "an extended re-implementation of Scratch." The potential benefit of Snap! over Scratch is that teachers who have a mix of iPads, Android tablets, and laptops in their classrooms can have all of their students use the same programming interface.