I’m in a session about programming with Michael Kolling. He works for Kent University in Canterbury, England, but actually from Germany, as evidence by the two little dots over the “O” in his last name, which I can’t figure out how to make with my blog editor.
He says that we have a huge shortage of programmers and other computer science fields because we drive out kids out of any interest in these field by teaching them computer science/computer applications. We kill them with word processing and Excel. He’s talking about programming, games, and Java.
He’s demonstrating a program now that creates virtual insects that are programmed to behave as ants. They randomly wander around until they find food. Then they come home laying down feramones. They need to leave high school interested, enthusastic, and curious about computers, then that’s all they need. When they come into his university class curious and enthused, then he can teach them anything. This is actually true with many subjects.
Michael is promoted a project called Greenfoot. This is very similar to what I’m thinking a Second Life for children should be. No just a place to interact and socialize, but also to create experience through objects that behave.