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SXSWi Panel on Kids Developing Games
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Smile SXSWi Panel on Kids Developing Games - 09-01-2009, 10:39 AM


I'm new to Alice (like a few hours new), but I have had an abiding interest in systems and programming environments like Alice that let kids develop games. (At the least, they help me satisfy my need for play.)

I am trying to put together a panel on these systems at South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi), a major trade show "showcasing the best in new websites, video games, and startup ideas" (from their web site).

My proposed panel would bring together developers of products like Alice that afford kids and (and adults who think like kids) the capabilities to easily develop games and simulations. I think that these products are important educational tools. I also think that they embody some of the most exciting ideas in computer science and programming practice.

If you folks out there in the Alice community, kids included, would be interested in participating in the panel, or attending it, or even making sure that it happens, please let me know. But before you do, please take a look at the panel proposal on SXSWi's PanelPicker site. (SXSW uses this site to collect public opinion on panel proposals.) A link to the proposal is

SXSW 2010 PanelPicker - Game Development for Kids

Once you're at this site, vote for the panel (please) and feel free to post a comment. And, if you can, tell everyone you know to do the same. The more votes and good comments that the proposal garners, the better its chances of making it into the program. The panelpicker closes on Sept 4, so please act quickly.

Two final items.

The first is about my background. I've been involved in instructional computing since the late '60s. I have not been directly involved in work on programming for kids, but I've followed the field with some interest ever since I discovered the programming language Logo. Currently, I'm setting up a new company devoted to games for science education. It's web site is at I also maintain a small consultancy called Halff Resources. It's web site ( has reasonably complete information on my background.

Second, you may be interested in knowing what other programming environments I'm considering for the panel, besides AgentSheets. Here is the current list. Please let me know of any that I should add.

AgentSheets (AgentSheets, Inc.)
eToys (Squeak)
Kodu (Microsoft)
Scratch (MIT)
StageCast Creator (StageCast Software, Inc.)
StarLogo (MIT)
TileStack (TileStack)

The list is too long for an effective panel, but I don't expect to get a participant from every organization. If, however, there is broad enough interest in this topic, I will sponsor a booth at ScreenBurn, SXSW's showcase for video games so that people can play with some of the best games created using Alice and/or the systems listed above.
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conference, games, panel, programming, sxswi

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