KineScript: Visual Programming

App review by
David Thomas, Common Sense Media
KineScript: Visual Programming App Poster Image
Seemingly simple coding app has hidden complexity, bugs.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn the basics of drag-and-drop programming and will create code through experimentation. They can test their creations and play with the myriad options on hand. Modeling serious programming concepts such as variables, flow control, and functions, KineScript: Visual Programming could develop skills a budding programmer will need, but a certain level of skill, patience, and perseverance are necessary.

Ease of Play

The point-and-click programming language seems quite simple at first pass, but the downside comes from hidden menus, confusing interfaces, and an overwhelming number of on-screen choices.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that KineScript: Visual Programming is a powerful multimedia tool. As such, the cutesy graphics mask a lot of complexity. This can be great for the dedicated kid who wants a rich set of tools to explore, but, lacking more complete support, expect kids to run into many roadblocks and problems without many places to turn.

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What's it about?

KINESCRIPT: VISUAL PROGRAMMING provides kids with an empty screen on which they can drag cartoon actors, link them to behaviors and scripted logic, and enjoy the results. The point-and-click interface rarely requires typing and sends would-be programmers sliding from screen to screen to access images, animations, sounds, and code blocks. String it all together, and the result is a simple multimedia program such as a basic game, drawing activity, or interactive point-and-click scene. Kids can choose from seven preconstructed programs, watch them in action, and then swipe right to start modifying the code blocks, which were inspired by Scratch, the kids' programming website.

Is it any good?

Although this app shows a lot of promise, a confusing interface and frequent bugs limit what might otherwise provide a solid tablet-based programming environment. The graphics are aimed at younger kids, but the options for stringing code together become more and more complicated with lots of nested options. It encourages experimentation and has a learn-as-you-go approach, but kids might be frustrated by the unexpected difficulty and lack of support.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how multimedia programs, such as games, are built out of many parts. What are the parts? How do they fit together?

  • Discuss the different code actions in games your kids play: What are the actions? Are they simple or complex?

App details

  • Device: iPad
  • Subjects: Math: patterns, sequences
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, decision-making, defining problems, logic, part-whole relationships, problem solving
    Creativity: combining knowledge, developing novel solutions, innovation, making new creations, producing new content
    Self-Direction: achieving goals, work to achieve goals
    Tech Skills: digital creation, using and applying technology
  • Price: $1.99
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Release date: August 23, 2013
  • Category: Education
  • Topics: Robots
  • Size: 46.00 MB
  • Publisher: HongRyul Jun
  • Version: 1.1.0
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 5.0 or later

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For kids who love coding

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