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3.3

Choosing your programming language

Since the computing computing curriculum began in September 2014, educational publishers have rushed to develop solutions for the new Computing curriculum, especially for primary schools, and companies like Espresso, 2Simple and Education City all have ‘off the peg’ coding resources as part of their suites of resources.

However there are some existing and free resources which can be used to teach programming from the beginning, and we have chosen to share the two of the most popular here, in Scratch and SmallBASIC.

If you are using commercial products for coding, this section is still useful as the principles of coding apply whatever the resources you use. Schools should aim, even by the end of Key Stage 2, to have pupils working in at least two programming languages, so a mixed approach looks to be most effective. In Secondary schools. a range of languages, including Python, Alice, JavaScript, VB, C# are used, and transferability of skills between them is important.

For the BBC Micro:bit, a special blocks editor has been designed to enable pupils to program the device using similar skills to the ones they may have developed using Scratch, Kodu or Blockly.

Below are links to some freely available programming environments which are often used in schools and related resources. This is not an exhaustive list, and please feel free to use the comments on this step to add links to freely available resources that you recommend.

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This article is from the free online course:

Teaching Computing

UEA (University of East Anglia)