Basser Seminar Series

Greenfoot - A Highly Graphical IDE for Learning Object-Oriented Programming

Speaker: Professor Michael Kölling
Computing Laboratory, University of Kent

Time: Wednesday 30 July 2008, 4:00-5:00pm

Location: The University of Sydney,
School of IT Building, Lecture Theatre (Room 123), Level 1


One of the important challenges we face in introductory programming courses is to stir the interest and curiosity of our students. We do not only have to teach the concepts, we also have to motivate students to develop an interest in the field of computer science in general or programming in particular.

In this presentation, I will demonstrate Greenfoot, an educational IDE that makes it easy to write interactive graphical applications. It helps to solve several problems in the teaching and learning of object-oriented programming: It provides educational tools that aid in understanding fundamental object-oriented concepts, and it is highly motivational through instant graphical feedback. Typical example programs are computer games, scientific simulations or interactive animations.

The Greenfoot system encapsulates the actual graphics code, so that programmers can concentrate fully on programming object behaviour. This design provides an effective educational tool that focuses students on the important concepts while providing immediate visual feedback

Greenfoot can be used effectively in higher education courses or at secondary school level. It has also been used in school outreach activities that promote university study to school students. The system is designed to allow explicit support for motivating underrepresented student groups, such as girls.

Speaker's biography

Michael Kölling is a Professor at the Computing Laboratory, University of Kent, in Canterbury, England. He holds a PhD in computer science from the University of Sydney, and has worked in Australia, Denmark and the UK. Michael’s research interests are in the areas of object-oriented systems, programming languages, software tools and computing education. He has published numerous papers on object-orientation and computing education topics and is co-author of a Java textbook. Michael is one of the developers of BlueJ, an educational programming environment, and more recently, the Greenfoot platform.