Sunday, August 3, 2008

Greenfoot Hero versus Guitar Hero

First, a rare rant: I am mortified by the popularity of Guitar Hero. If only kids spent half that energy on a real instrument! I assure you that this lad didn't get 46 million hits on YouTube by fiddling with a video game. I don't begrudge Activision for their success, per se, but they could score big, BIG points with me if they donated even a tiny percentage of the earnings to supporting true music programs in schools.

Music aside, it would be cool if our culture celebrated writing software as entertainment, no?

Huh? You might ask. You expect students to enjoy setting up a Maven project, or solving Eclipse classpath issues?

Good point. Enter Greenfoot, a delightful framework for Java that provides both a platform for learning about programming and even a way to quickly prototype domain models and games.

Check out this article by my friend/colleague Nathan Tippy for more details, and a walkthough of some projects. I did, and was blown away by Greenfoot: it abstracts away the tedious aspects of development and provides the opportunity for endless creativity.

Wouldn't it be great if there were competitions and adulation for "Greenfoot Hero", where kids got together to exchange ideas and programming hacks?


Michael Easter said...

ps. I do think kids should be allowed to "just play". But it should be perfectly reasonable vices like Gran Turismo or online poker! :-)

Unknown said...

Nothing but Grand Theft Auto for my boys. Go watch Randy Pausch's Last Lecture - the long original, not the shorter version he did for Oprah. He mentioned one of his main achievements, a system named Alice for teaching people how to program. They apparently play games, having fun, but are secretly learning how to program Java.