Greenfoot and Blackbox at SIGCSE 2016

This year, the SIGCSE (Special Interest Group in Computer Science Education) conference is in Memphis, Tennessee, at the beginning of March. With the early registration deadline of February 2nd fast approaching, I thought it’s worth quickly highlighting our events.

On Friday evening, we’ll be delivering a workshop on Greenfoot, using our new Stride language. Stride is a halfway house between blocks-based programming like in Scratch, Snap! & co, and full text programming in languages like Java or Python. We officially released Stride in Greenfoot 3.0 towards the end of last year, so we’re looking forward to having the opportunity to now deliver workshops using Stride. The workshop is at 7pm on Friday night. The committee like to see sign-ups in advance, so if you are thinking of attending, it would help us if you sign up now rather than once you arrive.

Stride Editor
Stride Editor

Also related to our work on Stride, I’ll be taking part in a panel discussion (proposal available here) on Friday morning at 10:45, entitled “Future Directions of Block-based Programming”. I’m very excited by the panel we’ve put together, where I’ll be joining: Jens Moenig, creator of Snap! and now working on GP, a new block-based language; David Anthony Bau, one of the leads of Pencil Code, an impressive blocks-based editor; and David Weintrop, who has done some excellent work looking at block-based programming (see 2015 section here). I’m looking forward to talking about the important details of designing and implement block-based and block-like editors, and how the design affects the way they are used in teaching.

Our other event is not focused on Greenfoot, but instead on our Blackbox data collection project. We’re holding a BoF (Birds of a Feather) event on Thursday evening at 5:30pm where we hope to get together with other researchers interested in educational data collection and analysis to talk about the data set and data collection platform that we provide in BlueJ.

I’m also looking forward to attending and seeing all the other interesting sessions. Glancing at the program, the paper sessions on CS Ed Research and Program Design look interesting for me. If you have any other suggestions on what to attend, feel free to put them in the comments.

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