Not being a great enthusiast for LOGO, I wasn't exactly looking forward to getting my head around the new versions of Microworlds. I must admit I have enjoyed working with Microworlds JR, however. Aimed at children in key stage 1 and early key stage 2, it takes a graphical, button-based approach to giving commands, creating animations and building procedures. There is spoken audio help, which means it can be used by children with limited reading skills. Added levels of challenge are available and standard LOGO commands can be used alongside the graphical interface. In many ways, it is similar to the object-oriented programming in Scratch. A save and print-disabled demo of Microworlds JR is available and, of course, Scratch is a free download.
Tony Pickford is a tutor and writer on primary education.