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The benefits of using Greenfoot in class

Greenfoot is an application which allows its users to use Java code to easily create simple graphics or visuals. Greenfoot should be used to encourage the students to not give up  programming if they find it difficult as it lets them immediately create the thing they were trying to do. There are many pre-defined methods such as turnLeft() or setLocation() which allow the programmer to easily move an actor around. This actor can have its controls mapped to the keyboard so that the student will be able to move his or her actor around. When the students see that they have managed to make a moving character with a few simple lines of code, they would probably be encouraged to make their Greenfoot application even more interactive. Since Greenfoot uses the actual Java code, the students are learning Java in fun way compared to the usual text based programs such as when creating a simple calculator program.

In the classroom, it can be used by for example telling the students to have the program act out a short short while the student is narrating what is happening. An example of this would be: two people walking towards an ice cream van to get ice cream or a kid bouncing a ball towards the edge of the screen and the ball bounces back to the kid.  As we can see, there are loads of possibilities as to how one can use Greenfoot.

Some screen shots of Greenfoot can be found here:




3 comments on “The benefits of using Greenfoot in class

  1. berniceschembri12
    October 29, 2013

    In the link below , there is an introduction about greenfoot, some tutorials and also screen shots.


  2. Seriously Virtual
    October 29, 2013

    I think Greenfoot is an excellent way to introduce students to programming – not just because of the programming language it supports but it also provides a context for the learners. The question many learners ask when learning a language – whether it is programming or not – is “why am I learning this? What is so important about learning this language?” Many teachers, especially those teaching computing, may make the mistake of teaching programming language by first writing out the code on the board, then making the students write it out on their computer screens. To be very honest, I don’t think this is the right approach. How would you see yourselves teaching programming at school?

  3. sarahbuttigieg12
    October 30, 2013

    I think what I would do is first introduced to students to a programming language like Greenfoot or Scratch where they see it as a game, but would be gaining fundamental programming skills. Then what I would do is explain certain programming principles in general which they have already come familiar with in Greenfoot, like sequences, iteration and so on. Another way could be starting up with real life examples for example telling the students to command me as a teacher to do certain things in class. For example move forward, turn left, until you hit the wall. They would be in command of the situation and this motivates students a lot. This I believe is a good way to start out as they start understanding more how to think abstractly which is fundamental in programming. Then encourage the students to come up with a simple program themselves. Surely some keywords and syntax they will need help from the teacher, but in the end they would come up by the code, and if they get stuck you encourage them to search online. It is useless learning every line of code by heart when it is readily available online. What is it very important is that they know the principles and basic structures.

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This entry was posted on October 26, 2013 by in resources, tools.
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