Lessons from the Design of Three Educational Programming Environments: Blue, BlueJ and Greenfoot

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Educational programming systems are booming. More systems of this kind have been published in the last few years than ever before, and interest in this area is growing. With the rise of programming as a school subject in ever-younger age groups, the importance of dedicated educational systems for programming education is increasing. In the past, professional environments were often used in programming teaching; with the shift to younger age groups, this is no longer tenable. New educational systems are currently being designed by a diverse group of developing teams, in industry, in academia, and by hobbyists. In this paper, the author describes his experiences with the design of three systems—Blue, BlueJ, and Greenfoot—and extract lessons that he hopes may be useful for designers of future systems. He also discusses current developments, and suggests an area of interest where future work might be proitable for many users: the combination of aspects from block-based and text-based programming. The author briely presents his work in this area—frame-based editing—and suggest possible future development options.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-32
Number of pages28
JournalInternational Journal of People-Oriented Programming
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015


  • Blue
  • BlueJ
  • Design
  • Educational IDE
  • Frame-based Editing
  • Greenfoot


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