Isla is an object-oriented programming language developed by Mary Rose Cook and aimed specifically at young children. I had a quick go at it and the intuitiveness and “niceness” of the language made me smile! I’m not sure how complex a program you can write with Isla, but it’s definitely a great starter for kids who are just learning to write.
The new App Inventor by MIT uses the same building block principle for developing Android apps as their older, and very popular, sister Scratch by MIT. They say:
App Inventor lets you develop applications for Android phones using a web browser and either a connected phone or emulator. The App Inventor servers store your work and help you keep track of your projects.
I haven’t tried it myself, but it looks like a great way for younger kids to develop and test simple mobile apps without much hassle!
Pugly Pixel is a blog with many Photoshop, CSS, and HTML tutorials, run by Katrina who’s a compsci graduate and a little bit fanatic about gorgeous design paired with some fancy tech tricks. The tutorials and magazine-style designs are insanely beautiful, and the instructions are really good. For anyone getting started with HTML & CSS (e.g. if you’re running your own WordPress blog), Pugly Pixel will be inspirational and useful. Learn while your heart is melting!
CS4FN is a magazine for kids that covers the fun side of computing – games, puzzles, mazes… You can read the articles online or order free copies of the printed magazine. They also have a special issue titled “The Women Are Here” on girls in computer science!
Hackety Hack is software that helps you build Ruby applications. The 4 lessons walk you through the first steps of Ruby, while also teaching you how to build graphical user interfaces (GUIs) using the “Shoes” toolkit. Unfortunately, the lessons are quite short, but Hackety Hack is definitely great for getting started with Ruby. Works best on a Mac, might not work too well on Windows.
“Quest lets you make interactive story games – you can make text adventure games (like Zork, or The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) and gamebooks (like the Choose Your Own Adventure books).” Doesn’t require any coding, but can be used with scripts. Text adventures games are great fun and a fantastic way to learn how to code.
An online book teaching you to write Ruby code using cartoon foxes, cute drawings, and bizarre dialogues – great fun and very good explanations. You will have to set up your computer to use Ruby before getting started. Maybe most suitable if you already know bits of code and just want to learn Ruby as a second or third language.