About "The Meadow"
Do Robots Dream of Virtual Sheep: Rediscovering the "Karel the Robot" Paradigm for the "Plug&Play Generation"
|Eike Falk Anderson and Leigh McLoughlin|
We introduce ”C-Sheep”, an educational system designed to teach students the fundamentals of computer programming
in a novel and exciting way. Recent studies suggest that computer science education is fast approaching a crisis -
application numbers for degree courses in the area of computer programming are down, and potential candidates are
put off the subject which they do not fully understand. We address this problem with our system by providing the
visually rich virtual environment of ”The Meadow”, where the user writes programs to control the behaviour of a
sheep using our ”C-Sheep” programming language. This combination of the ”Karel the Robot” paradigm with modern 3D
computer graphics techniques, more commonly found in computer games, aims to help students to realise that computer
programming can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience and intends to help educators with the teaching of computer
science fundamentals. Our mini-language-like system for computer science education uses a state of the art rendering
engine offering features more commonly found in entertainment systems. The scope of the mini-language is designed to
fit in with the curriculum for the first term of an introductory computer programming course (using the C programming
© 2006-2009 by Eike Anderson, Steffen Engel & Leigh McLoughlin, NCCA, Bournemouth University