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Beyond Scratch

For variety and sometimes with features that are not present in Scratch you could try one of the following (and all these are free).  All of these are available for Windows, Mac and Linux.  However tablet versions are not available.  Some online versions may run in some hand-held devices depending on web browser capabilities (JavaScript enabled or Adobe Flash enabled).
  • Snap: Latest version of BYOB (Build Your Own Blocks). Looks like Scratch as this is a modified version of Scratch with more features, targeted for its use like a traditional programming environment. Get started here - http://snap.berkeley.edu/. Unlike Scratch 2.0 online version that is 'flash' based, Snap is 'Javascript' based and runs on more devices with web browsers that support Javascript.  If you are serious about learning programming you could give this open course from University of California at Berkeley a try - The Beauty and Joy of Programming that uses Snap.

  • Alice: Provides 3D animation environment whereas Scratch is 2D (or 2.5D as Scratch gives layer control). Get started here - http://www.alice.org/ . Alice 3.x version emphasizes object-oriented concepts and full transition to the Java programming language.  If you are serious about learning traditional programming, you could try the Oracle Academy's Getting Started With Java Using Alice.

  • eToys: Came at least a decade before Scratch and some of the people moved on to create Scratch for younger audience. A media-rich authoring environment and visual programming system that has been delivered to a lot of children via the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) initiative.  Also available on Sugar (the software environment on OLPC hardware). Hence you could use it on 'Sugar' (on a stick - a USB stick / pen drive; or in a virtual machine that runs Sugar) or directly on your favorite operating system as an application.  Get started here - http://www.squeakland.org/If eToys seems to be the way to go, one of the most useful resources is EtoysIllinois.

  • Greenfoot: Learn Java Programming. Visual and interactive. Get started here - http://www.greenfoot.org/ . Greenfoot teaches object orientation with Java. Create 'actors' which live in 'worlds' to build games, simulations, and other graphical programs.  The actors are programmed in standard textual Java code, providing a combination of programming experience in a traditional text-based language with visual execution.  If you made it this far and interested in learning all the possible alternatives you may want to watch this video delivered via http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/topics/newtojava/young-developers-jsp-136992.html .

  • Kodu: If gaming is your forté and you want to move onto something with commercial gaming hardware support, try Kodu - a visual programming language made specifically for creating games. The programming environment runs on the Xbox, allowing rapid design iteration using only a game controller for input. A free PC version is also available for you to try. Learn more about it at http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/projects/kodu/ 


If you started with Scratch and have interesting projects that you built already, you can easily open them in eToys using ScratchConnect or as is with no other intermediary in Snap.


Scratch can be used to control any robots created using the LEGO WeDo construction set.

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