2006 Courses

I am the only lecturer and supervisor for:


I finally finished my PhD in 2005 (special thanks to Dr Alan Creak and Dr Jennifer Lennon, my main and co-supervisors respectively).

The abstract from my thesis:

This thesis describes the design, development and testing of a programming environment for children. Several different approaches were employed to produce guidelines to aid in the design of the environment: a brief examination of the theories of child development, the production of a simple first programming environment, interviews of children to determine what they understood about computer programming and the programs they wanted to produce, and the evaluation of previous programming environments for children.

The resulting guidelines ranged from suggestions as to the age range of children the environment should be aimed at, through to the necessity of making the environment fun.

Icicle (Interaction computing in a constructionist learning environment), the programming environment that was produced, includes several novel approaches to producing and representing programs. Changes in state, or interactions as they are referred to in Icicle, are used as the basis for computation. Instructions are represented by animations, and parallelism is provided in a very simple way.

The system was tested with twelve, nine and ten-year-old children. They found Icicle to be usable and very enjoyable. They produced many programs using Icicle and believed that it enabled them to produce any type of program that they desired. The real limits of Icicle are also discussed.

You can read my thesis if you want. Warning: Some of the fonts are not included and Appendix A is not what it should look like.

My plan is to release Icicle, the programming environment for children that is described in the thesis when I have tidied it up. It is very alpha software at the moment. Unfortunately, I have very little time to work on this as I have a very full teaching load and a lot of administration.


I am the departmental advisor for Diploma students; both the Graduate Diploma in Science and the Postgraduate Diploma in Science.

I am also the academic advisor on enrolment matters.

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Last updated: Friday the 24th of November 2006.