Project Graduation of ienjinia
What is the first thing you think about when you imagine teaching software development? Games, right? Project IENJINIA emulates an 80's video games console. This is done for two reasons. First, games, is rather simple as are the types of game design possible. The second is that the emulator is a very simple platform for exploring programming.
The project relies on BeanShell but also includes a library that gave me the shivers of olden days. The commands look a lot like Wozniak's Apple Basic for the Apple II computer with its commands eek and Poke being used to write screen rasters and control sprites. The idea here is that such interfaces to hardware are so primitive that they are a concrete way to help a new programmer understand the interface between hardware and software. Although BeanShell is 90% Java, the library and new commands add the gaming console capabilities that we would see in the average Packman arcade game.
Is this the panacea we have been looking for to educate the average teenager? Perhaps, because this worked for me when I was peeking and poking on my Apple back in the late 70's. Mixing an interpreted Java interpreter and a simulated hardware platform might be the right mix.
If you know a teacher, a parent, a teen, or if you are a teen a parent or a teach, give this a try or pass on the information. Java is now on Advanced Placement exams for college, so high schools are now the first place kids see Java. Since they have to learn Java, why not in an environment adds game development to the fray.
Of course, this should be a boon to the older parents. If you cut your teeth on an Apple or similar computer and learned a bit of Java, you have all you need to help tutor your kids. But, be a mentor and facilitator and in this case, perhaps a game beta tester.
Kids are smarter than we think, especially when it comes to computers (take a look at the Hole-in-the-Wall Experiment). If you know of a teenager that might be interested, just give them the link and let them download and experiment. Many a career was launched from just a little curiosity.
Project IENJINIA was originally at SourceForge, but is now a java.net project within the GELC. The project also has a public web site at: http://www.ienjinia.com/ Project IENJINIA has graduated from the Global Education and Learning Community's incubator and is now in the tools for teaching area of the GELC.