ET6 Visual Programming and Digital Storytelling

ET6 Visual Programming and Digital Storytelling

There’s an old story about the person who wished his computer were as easy to use as his telephone. That wish has come true, since I no longer know how to use my telephone."

— Bjarne Stroustrup


Visual Programming

In computing, a visual programming language (VPL) is any programming language that lets users create programs by manipulating program elements graphically rather than by specifying them textually. A VPL allows programming with visual expressions, spatial arrangements of text and graphic symbols, used either as elements of syntax or secondary notation. For example, many VPLs are based on the idea of "boxes and arrows", where boxes or other screen objects are treated as entities, connected by arrows, lines or arcs which represent relations.


While not a visual programming language, Logo was one of the first programming languages, developed in 1967, for education.

Look at the instructions and then complete some of the Challenges.


Blockly is an example of a visual programming language, developed by Google it runs entirely in a web browser.

Try the following examples:

Maze takes students through simple programming commands

Plane Seat calculator requires construction of a simple formula

Turtle allows you to program the turtle to draw complex shapes

Graph allows graphics calculator functions

Code allows Blockly programs to be translated into other programming languages

Block Factory allows creation of programs that show the code created


Scratch is a very popular visual programming language in use in schools that can be downloaded from
Currently it required downloading and installing but a new online version is in beta at
Use the Get Started icon to learn some basic commands, then explore the existing projects and try modifying the code in some of these by clicking on 'See Inside'.


Greenfoot is an interactive Java development environment designed primarily for educational purposes and it allows easy development of two-dimensional graphical applications, such as simulations and interactive games.

Digital Storytelling

Digital storytelling refers to a short form of digital media production that allows video, animation, stills, audio, or any of the other forms of non-physical media (material that exists only as electronic files as opposed to actual paintings or photographs on paper, sounds stored on tape or disc, movies stored on film) which individuals can use to tell a story or present an idea. Simple programming languages are often used to provide interactivity to digital stories.


Storyjumper lets students create digital stories, the handout contains the classroom edition code. Storyjumper is a web-based tool that lets students create an online book with background scenes, props and characters, uploaded images, and text on digital pages.  There is a free education version that allows teachers to create student accounts.  Finished stories are viewed on the computer and pages can be virtually ‘flipped’, but can also be printed off on paper.


Animoto allows students to create multimedia slideshows using text, images, music, and/or short (10-second) video clips.  Educators can register to get a code which allows full-length video accounts to be created for free.  

Story Bird

Story Bird stories are short art based digital storytelling tool. 

Inanimate Alice

Inanimate Alice is an interactive multimodal fiction digital novel.

SAM animation

Sam Animation is  is a desktop application that allows students to capture a series of still images from a webcam that can then be played back in movie form.

Subpages (1): ET6 Activities