Two educational programming environments developed at the University of Kent, BlueJ and Greenfoot, are now included with the distribution of the standard Raspberry Pi operating system, Raspbian.
Over five million Raspberry Pis, the low-cost credit card sized computer, have been sold within the past three years making programming accessible for young people in particular. The inclusion of BlueJ and Greenfoot adds the Java programming language as an option to program the Raspberry Pi, as an alternative to Scratch and Python, included previously.
Greenfoot supports easy development of games and simulations in Java on the Raspberry Pi, while BlueJ allows generic Java programming, including direct access to the hardware components of the computer.
“This is the first time a Java development environment runs directly on the Raspberry Pi”, says Michael Kölling, Professor of Computer Science at the University of Kent and project leader for the BlueJ and Greenfoot projects. ‘We provide a custom-made library for the Pi; it has never been this easy to access its hardware components from any programming language.’
Both BlueJ and Greenfoot are supported by extensive amounts of learning material and documentation, making them ideal for the teaching and learning of programming in schools and for individuals. The systems are used by more than three million learners every year.
Including BlueJ and Greenfoot on the Raspberry Pi, makes the University of Kent’s free programming environments accessible to millions of new users, potentially helping many more young learners to become programmers.
Eben Upton, CEO of Raspberry Pi said: ‘We’re very excited be adding BlueJ and Greenfoot to Raspberry Pi’s standard Raspbian operating system releases. Together, they provide a great way for beginner-to-intermediate users to experiment and get comfortable with the Java language.’
More information is available here:
Information and examples of what can be done with BlueJ on the Raspberry Pi are available at: http://www.bluej.org/raspberrypi/
A comprehensive video tutorial on learning to code games in Java using Greenfoot is available at joyofcode.org and in the Greenfoot’s channel on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/18km