The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T +44 (0)1227 764000
Millions more to benefit from Greenfoot
Millions of young people are expected to benefit from a University of Kent-established international teacher training network for Greenfoot, a free-to-download software tool that teaches computer programming to pupils from 14 years upwards.
Free and available for download at www.greenfoot.org, Greenfoot was designed by members of the Universitys Computing Education Research Group and colleagues at La Trobe University in Melbourne to engage pupils through an interactive environment which enables them to easily create games and simulations. To date, more than a million pupils around the world have been able to experiment with creating games and animations, with more than 250,000 active users currently developing their knowledge and expertise.
With well over one thousand institutions also using the software for their computer science teaching, the design team has increased its support for teachers by establishing seven new international hubs that will offer face-to-face workshops, training and discussions.
In addition to the existing Greenfoot development locations in Kent (UK) and Melbourne (Australia), seven new hubs have now been established, run by volunteers from a number of institutions. Five of these are in the USA (reflecting the fact that a very large part of the Greenfoot community is in North America), one in Germany (Berlin) and one in Moscow.
Professor Michael Kölling, lead designer of the Greenfoot project, said: Already, somewhere around a million young people have learned to program with Greenfoot. Over the next few years, we want to at least triple that. Partnering with a number of enthusiastic people at different places in the world will allow us to grow our user base even more than before. We now have more than a quarter of a million active users, so providing training and support is one of the big challenges. Other people getting involved in our project is also a great thing, and a sign of the value educators see in our software.
Greenfoot is being developed at the University of Kent by Professor Kölling, Ian Utting, Neil Brown and Phil Stevens. In 2010 it received the Premier Award for Excellence in Engineering Education Courseware at the Frontiers in Education Conference in Washington DC.
The Computing Education Research Group is part of the Universitys School of Computing.
Story published at 10:15am 21 January 2011