Teaching Kids to Program

Michael Kölling is a Senior Lecturer in Computing at the University of Kent at Canterbury. He was one of the the key developers of the [BlueJ](http://www.bluej.org/) programming environment and is one of the authors of [Objects First with Java](http://www.amazon.co.uk/Objects-First-Java-Practical-Introduction/dp/013197629X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1205426224&sr=1-1). His demonstration to folks at Google HQ of [Greenfoot](http://www.greenfoot.org/) , his new Java programming environment for young learners, has just been published on [YouTube](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tcwx-I6Arwk). By providing a programming environment based on graphical objects that move in artificial worlds, Kölling hopes to make programming compelling to high-school-age kids and thereby reverse the current UK trend of students thinking that ICT is only about office programs and spreadsheets (and thereby convincing most of them that computing is boring). These are excellent aims, and Greenfoot is an excellent programming environment and the video is excellent and inspiring presentation by one of my heroes.

It’s worth noting that Greenfoot, and its bigger brother BlueJ, support the Java programming language. This is a potential weakness of the approach in that, as Kölling himself admits, the Java programming language may not be suitable for students younger than 14 or 15 (see also an earlier [post on this topic](/2007/09/thoughts-on-programming-languages.html)).

The video is available on YouTube in the [googletechtalks ](http://www.youtube.com/user/googletechtalks) channel. Enjoy!

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Author: cpjobling

Senior lecturer, College of Engineering, Swansea University