First party of a journey of writing a Doctor Who video game in Java with my 9-year-old daughter.
Update: Part II, Part III and Part IV of this story are available now.
Yesterday, my daughter Sophie asked me to show her how to write a computer game. She is nine. (Well, only a few weeks away from being ten – at this age, a year still matters.) She has never written any code before. Now, there’s a challenge, if I ever saw one.
I am a computer scientist, and one of our projects is Greenfoot – a programming environment designed to teach kids (and older students) to code with Java. So far, that has all been part of my research work. Research into programming education, tool design, etc. I have used Greenfoot with kids (mostly about 15 years old), but more often I do presentations and workshops for teachers.
I have often wondered how low in age you could take Greenfoot. It’s Java, after all, not Logo. 15-year-olds clearly works. But 10 year olds? We don’t know.
So I told Sophie that we’d start making a game tomorrow. That was yesterday. So today was the day. Afterwards, I thought it might be interesting to try to record the process we’re going through — see what happens.
So here is my (hopefully continuing) diary of coding with my daughter… (Our results, live demo and source code, are at the bottom.)