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Greenfoot 2.4.1 Release
22 Jan 2015

Greenfoot-icon-256-shadow

Greenfoot 2.4.1 has been released. You can download it for all platforms.

This is primary a maintenance release with bugfixes, but it also includes a new Greenfoot.ask() method that allows you to request string input from the user.

Out now: Greenfoot 2.4
31 Jul 2014

Version-2-4

Get it while it’s fresh.

We have just released a new version of Greenfoot, version 2.4.

This version provides a number of bug fixes, and some functionality improvements.

The improvements include some new helper classes (which you can import into your scenario via the Edit/Import Class… menu). These classes make it easy to, for example, get live weather information, or access Google maps as the background image of your scenario. We will publish some more detail about how to use these shortly.

Text output has also been simplified, with a new showText method in the World class.

You can get Greenfoot 2.4 here.

Watch This Space: Greenfoot 2.4 out soon
25 Jul 2014

Announce

The next release of Greenfoot, version 2.4, is now in final testing and just about ready for release.

We have been working on this version for a while, and spent the last few weeks testing and preparing the release. So if you are planning to install software in your school’s lab over summer – hold on for a few more days and wait for Greenfoot 2.4.

The new version will have a good list of small improvements. It presents not a radical overhaul, but many small, incremental steps forward.

New features include new API methods, interface improvements, and some new, built-in helper classes.

We will tell you the details shortly. Watch this space.

All Day Greenfoot Workshop in San Francisco Bay Area
18 Sep 2013

Silicon-valley-code-camp

Silicon Valley Code Camp is a FREE code camp geared towards professional developers. We are introducing a new kids track this year with 4 hands-on workshops on Greenfoot by none other than Neil Brown.

The specific sessions are:

Build a chase game in Greenfoot (2-part hands-on workshop) http://www.siliconvalley-codecamp.com/Session/2013/building-a-chase-game-in-greenfoot-part-1 http://www.siliconvalley-codecamp.com/Session/2013/building-a-chase-game-in-greenfoot-part-2

Build a platforming game in Greenfoot (2-part hands-on workshop) http://www.siliconvalley-codecamp.com/Session/2013/building-a-platforming-game-in-greenfoot-part-1 http://www.siliconvalley-codecamp.com/Session/2013/building-a-platforming-game-in-greenfoot-part-2

See the complete agenda at:

http://www.siliconvalley-codecamp.com/Track/2013/kids

Join us if you can.

The Greenfoot Team Are Hiring
23 Nov 2012

Greenfoot_hiring2

The BlueJ/Greenfoot team are currently looking to hire new two team members. We are inviting applications until the 19th December. You can view the official job description and apply online, while one of our existing team members, Neil Brown, has written a more informal description of the job and the team.

The job is an interesting mixture of software development and academic research into computer education. BlueJ is used by several million users worldwide, and has an interesting web-scale data collection project being developed, while Greenfoot is a fast-growing fun visual educational system for kids with new ideas in the pipeline. Not to mention our teacher community websites, such as this one!

If you have any questions about the position then please feel free to contact any of the BlueJ team – Michael can be reached at mik@kent.ac.uk.

One teacher's experience with Greenfoot
17 Sep 2012

Ct

By now, many teachers have tried teaching with Greenfoot. Now one of them has shared his experiences in some detail.

in his blog at http://computingteacher.edublogs.org/, the “computingteacher”, a GCSE and A-level ICT teacher in the UK, has described his experiences over the last year in using Greenfoot for his GCSE ICT course.

The blog makes for interesting reading, and provides valuable lessons for many teachers out there.

The Great T-Shirt Bonanza
05 Jul 2012

T-shirt

Until the end of August, we’re giving away free T-shirts for every new resource uploaded to the Greenroom.

It’s summer again! Yes, really, even though for some of us this is really only apparent because the rain is getting warmer. (Unless, of course you’re in Australia. Or Africa. Or South America. Or… well, you get the idea.) But, summer here nonetheless, so what do you now need?

Right, a new T-shirt!

We know that some of you have great resources lying around that you’ve been developing or using over the year, and in a blatant attempt to bribe you to sit down and upload them we are sending everyone a T-shirt who uploads a new resource. (You can, of course, upload two or three or five resources, but only one shirt per person, I’m afraid. I know that you would ask.)

The famous black shirt with the green foot is by far the most popular thing we ever produced, far outstripping any software we ever worked on in success and appreciation. Wearing this shirt will make you 83% smarter, 2 cm taller and 112% more attractive to the opposite sex.

So, what are you waiting for. If you have a resource, upload it now. If you don’t – now is the time to make one!

More information in the related discussion post.

Greenfoot on the Raspberry Pi
21 Jun 2012

Raspberry-pi

Many of you will have heard by now of the Raspberry Pi, a small, credit card-sized $25/$35 computer. Now Greenfoot will run on it.

The Raspberry Pi has generated a huge amount of publicity lately, even before being able to ship the first units. The idea is that the computer is so inexpensive that you can just give it to your kid (or a whole bunch of them to your class), and they can just play with it. Broken anything? Don’t worry, just wipe the flash memory and start again.

We received our first two Raspberry Pis a few weeks ago. You just get the computer, and then you plug in your own charger (miscro-USB), keyboard, monitor and – if you want – network.

Neil, Davin, Phil and Michael B from our development team had Greenfoot running on it within an hour or so.

To prove that it’s real, here’s a picture:

Image Alt Text

Currently, we must admit that it runs somewhat slowly, and further work is required to make it more usable. But with better VM optimisation, better graphics optimisation and another JDK, this should all be possible.

We’re working on it - watch this space.

The Sinepost - Learning Maths and Computing
30 Mar 2012

Spaceship-sine1

A new blog by Neil Brown introduces mathematics concepts using programming. This works both ways: understand maths through programming, or improve your program using maths.

The blog is called The Sinepost, and was started in February.

While the Sinepost uses Greenfoot for many of its examples, the content is not, in fact, restricted to Greenfoot. Most of the techniques discussed are generic programming and maths concepts. This gives you a nice way to hit two flies with one swat, as we would say in Germany. (In English, I guess, you’re more into killing birds…)

The blog describes itself thus:

This blog aims to show you how to learn and apply mathematics using computing, without being as boring as that sounds!

A variety of relevant examples illustrate fundamental mathematical concepts. While students in maths classes often struggle to see the relevance of trigonometry, for example, using it to turn a spaceship to the nearest star gives it immediate practical value.

The blog is written by Neil Brown, from the Greenfoot team.

Greenfoot at SIGCSE
17 Jan 2012

Logo

There will be two Greenfoot events at SIGCSE 2012: a workshop and the Going Greenfoot evening event. Join us if you can.

At this year’s SIGCSE conference in Raleigh, North Carolina (USA), several members of the SIGCSE team will be present and presenting.

On Wednesday (29th Feb), Neil and Michael will present a workshop titled Teaching with Greenfoot and the Kinect – A Novel Way to Engage Beginners (7pm-10pm, room 306C). The title gives you a good clue what it’s about: Using the Kinect with Greenfoot for some cool projects.

Throughout the conference Greenfoot team members will also be present in the exhibit area at the Oracle booth, giving demos of Greenfoot, the Kinect, and generally happy to talk to people and answer questions.

And lastly, but most importantly, at 6pm on Friday we will have our big Greenfoot event, Going Greenfoot, with drinks, peanuts and some Greenfoot talk. And you can win a great prize: A Kinect to take home!

So, if you are at the SIGCSE conference this year, come by and say hello.

New Greenroom feature: Resource sets
11 Aug 2011

Set-large-2

The Greenroom has a new feature: Resource sets. This is intended to make finding and browsing resources much easier than before.

The way we presented resources previously was as lists – ordered either by recency or by popularity. In either case, finding available resources was often not easy.

Our attempt to allow browsing by content of the resources was to use user defined tags. This has not worked well in practice. So we have completely rethought how we want to support better browsing of resources by category or content type, and we have now created Resource sets.

In his recent discussion post, Phil Stevens, the member of the Greenfoot team who implemented this feature, talks a bit about it and invites your comments and questions.

If you wanted to teach your kids Java, what would you use?
18 Jul 2011

Southparkjag-small

For James Gosling, father of Java, the answer is Greenfoot.

James has been a friend and supporter of the BlueJ and Greenfoot projects for many years now, so when it came time for his youngest daughter to learn how to program it’s not surprising that he’d try it out. But it seems to have gone really well.

Greenfoot version 2.1 released
10 Jun 2011

Version-2-1

A new Greenfoot version has been released, bringing some new functionality.

The latest release of Greenfoot started out as a planned bug fix release, but then grew somewhat to include a bit of new functionality as well.

Among the new features are new APIs for volume control of sounds, getting the microphone input level and new built-in ‘move’ and ‘turn’ methods for actors.

For teaching, especially the last two may be interesting. Getting the input level of the microphone is probably the easiest way to get user input, and thus is ideal for very early examples and demos.

The microphone input is returned as an int between 0 and 100, and represents the general noise level that is picked up. This allows, for example, for a demo to be written that includes the snippet:

if (Greenfoot.getMicLevel() > 20) 
{
    ...
}

This is a very easy example to make a small demo interactive, and maybe make something happen by getting your class to shout out.

Relative move and turn methods are now built in to the Actor class, to early movement of actors is now easier than before, and does not require a custom superclass anymore.

While this might require some teaching material to be rewritten to make use of this, we think it is worth it in the long run. (And all existing material will, of course, work unchanged as before as well. This release does not break existing code from previous versions.)

Apart from the new functions, this release also includes a number of bug fixes, and we recommend that all users upgrade. You can read a bit more here, and download the new Greenfoot version here.

Greenfoot on a Stick
01 Jun 2011

Greenfoot-stick

You can now download a disk image that can run Greenfoot from a USB drive — no installation required.

We are very aware that many teachers, particularly in secondary schools, live in a continuous struggle with their IT support team over software installations. Sometimes it seems that asking to get a programming environment installed on school computers is viewed in a similar way as asking to give loaded shotguns to every school kid for a quick hunting trip after school. For many teachers the reaction is the same: It ain’t gonna happen.

So, if your admins let you run software from a USB drive, then we might have a way forward for you: Greenfoot on a Stick.

Download this zip file, expand it and copy the files onto a USB drive. The files include a greenfoot.exe that runs straight from the USB drive without any installation.

Currently for Windows only.

Comparing Scratch, Alice and Greenfoot
26 May 2011

Logos

There are a good number of educational programming environments available now. We sat down to compare three of the most successful ones: Greenfoot, Scratch and Alice.

It all started with two panel sessions at the ITICSE 2009 and SIGCSE 2010 conferences, titled Comparing Alice, Greenfoot and Scratch. The panel sessions were organised because of common questions:

“There are so many educational environments out there. How do they compare? Which one shall I use?”

When talking to the development teams of Alice and Scratch, we noticed that we were all getting these same questions with increased frequency. So we sat down to compare and contrast, and explain where there might be crossover points.

The panel sessions were very popular, and we received many follow-on questions. We decided to produce a written version of this discussion, which was published as a special issue of the ACM Transactions of Computing Education (TOCE).

This issue consists of a set of papers. One paper each was written by a key member of the design team of each of the environments, describing their system and putting it into context with the others. In addition, the papers include a more general introduction to the relevant topics and a discussion between the designers.

Image Alt Text
Target age groups for Alice, Scratch and Greenfoot

The papers in the TOCE Special Issue are more extensive and more in depth than the panel discussion was, but they also aim at recording some of the interesting aspects that came out of the discussion. They are:

Note: All of the papers are in the ACM digital library, here. Some of them are also downloadable directly from the authors’ web sites. These are linked to the full text in the list above.

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