Programming platforms

Programming platforms can be categorised into two groups: visual programming environments and general-purpose programming languages.

Visual programming environments

In the Australian Curriculum, students from Years 3–6 are expected to use a visual programming language. Note: It is not a requirement for students in Year 2 or below to use a visual programming language. However, many schools introduce apps such as ScratchJr for those students who are ready.

A visual programming language enables students to sequence commands (displayed as blocks) to create a program. In the Years 5–6 band, for example, students create programs that allow user input, choices/decisions (branching), and use repetition (loops) until particular conditions are met.

General-purpose programing languages

In the Australian Curriculum students from Year 7 upwards are expected to use a general-purpose language.

General-purpose languages allow students to solve more complex problems, as they are not restricted by the functionality of visual programming languages. Often referred to as text-based programming languages, these types of programming environments have a particular syntax (the way the code is formatted and understood by the computer). Students need to become familiar with the particular programming language that they are using.

Note: Robots and microcontrollers typically incorporate a programming language that may be block-based or text-based; some may provide both options.

Further information


In this section we highlight features of common technologies used in schools. However, any references to any specific product, process or service is for information only and does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation.