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Gaming to Teach Java | Jason E. Shao

Gaming to Teach Java 2

via email from the Princeton JUG

Another interesting resource for learning about Java and programming is
http://www.greenfoot.org/.

It is an interactive learning tool that starts by having you build a game world
with actors, using a GUI. Then, you learn how to enhance the world by using
Java code.

It’s worth a look. At JavaOne 2007, the Greenfoot project was awarded the
Duke’s Choice Award.

This is interesting — I’ve always thought that Java was actually a poorer choice than something like Python or maybe Ruby for introducing students to programming. The syntactic requirements, compilation and other steps, and relative difficulty to get to the fun stuff seems to be a significant barrier.

One of the strong points of Java has always been tool support though, and this looks like a pretty neat tool. I have to admin, I’m definitely wondering if this could make me change my mind. BlueJ was a big leap I think in producing a simpler, learners IDE — but this just seems miles ahead in terms of making something to spark people’s interest in programming. Which considering all the concerns about dropping enrollment in Computer Science has to be a good thing.

2 thoughts on “Gaming to Teach Java

  1. chaos41 May 25,2007 5:13 am

    Jason,

    Great meeting you at Portlets 2007. I was looking for your presentations online and found you here. Just saw an interesting little Java tutorial for kids

    Also, I remember back in the day learning Pascal using a little sim IDE called Karel the Robot, now available in Java.http://csis.pace.edu/~bergin/KarelJava2ed/karelexperimental.html

  2. Jason Shao May 25,2007 2:06 pm

    Hey Alvin,

    Good to meet you too. Interestingly enough, that book was authored by the leader of my local JUG… Ahh… Pascal — I just hit the tail end of that wave. Now you’re making me feel old. Not that you’re old… 😉

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