Computer scientists at the University of California, San Diego, have developed an immersive, first-person player video game designed to teach students in elementary to high school how to program in Java, one of the most common programming languages in use today.
The researchers tested the game on a group of 40 girls, ages 10 to 12, who had never been exposed to programming before. They detailed their findings in a paper they presented at the SIGCSE conference in March in Denver. Computer scientists found that within just one hour of play, the girls had mastered some of Java’s basic components and were able to use the language to create new ways of playing with the game.
Oh boy, I wish we'd had that kind of thing in my day - I didn't even get my first pocket calculator until I was 12! Good to see kids being given a fun way into programming via games, especially when there seems to be a lot of social pressure that discourages girls from getting into "nerdy" subjects these days.