SIGCSE Presentation on Greenfoot


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Presentation at the March 2009 ACM SIGCSE conference on Greenfoot

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SIGCSE Presentation on Greenfoot

  1. 1. Teaching (really young) kids to code Greenfoot in an enrichment program for gifted youth Brian Myers Northwestern University Center for Talent Development
  2. 2. BlueJ/Greenfoot Day - SIGCSE 2009
  3. 3. = +BlueJ/Greenfoot Day - SIGCSE 2009
  4. 4. Distinctive aspects of working with middle school kidsversus upper grade level/university studentsAt this age, the computer is thought of as a game console.Expectations must be framed without risk to motivation.When is snack time?Prior experience or lack thereof (OS commands, file hierarchy, mediaediting toolsParental experience/competencies/guidance.Limited access/edit media content . BlueJ/Greenfoot Day - SIGCSE 2009
  5. 5. Addressing diverse skill levels and student interests through adifferentiated approachBasic digital competencies acquired on a “need to know” basisConcept formation: the importance of physicality and playLow floor – High ceiling – Wide walls Providing a low floor most important with this age group: allow them to be successful, instill confidence. This is accomplished through the completion of weekly projects (Green Room) and the provision of simple, discrete tutorials. High ceiling: provide challenges on an optional basis (“Going to the Moon” scenario by Randy Gallant and Qusay Mahmoud). Wide walls: offer projects that are customizable; offer improvisational in- class activities. BlueJ/Greenfoot Day - SIGCSE 2009
  6. 6. Playful classroom activities provide a foundation of experienceThe computer only knows what you tell it: students play the roles ofcomputer and computer programmer.Simon Says: students play out conditional expressions.Planet Boolean: where the traffic lights have only two lamps, green andred.Weekly worksheet projects: students instantiate (walk out) the motionsand behaviors of Actor classes (e.g., the enemy motions of SpaceInvaders) BlueJ/Greenfoot Day - SIGCSE 2009
  7. 7. BlueJ/Greenfoot Day - SIGCSE 2009
  8. 8. Scenario created by Michael Berry BlueJ/Greenfoot Day - SIGCSE 2009
  9. 9. Spacewar: throughout the eight-week session students build and customize a scroller scenario BlueJ/Greenfoot Day - SIGCSE 2009
  10. 10. Sample mini-tutorials distributed with accompanying worksheets BlueJ/Greenfoot Day - SIGCSE 2009
  11. 11. BlueJ/Greenfoot Day - SIGCSE 2009
  12. 12. Limit the number of methods introducedso that the student programmer can achieve mastery of each addObject() removeObject() setLocation() mouseClicked() getWidth(), getHeight() getImage() getX(), getY() drawString() isKeyDown() setImage() getRandomNumber() setBackground() getOneIntersectingObject () playSound()In truth, our eight-week sessions allow only just enough time toexperiment with just a few of the Greenfoot methods. BlueJ/Greenfoot Day - SIGCSE 2009
  13. 13. Hopper: collect the carrots and avoid the fox (Molly, age 12). BlueJ/Greenfoot Day - SIGCSE 2009
  14. 14. Spacewar: don’t let the enemies reach your fleet! (Nicholas, age 12). BlueJ/Greenfoot Day - SIGCSE 2009
  15. 15. brian-myers(at)northwestern(dot)edu BlueJ/Greenfoot Day - SIGCSE 2009