Keynote talk: Kojo, a Scala based learning environment for children
- Session presented by Lalit Pant, Kogics
Lalit Pant is a software architect cum teacher based out of Dehradun. He spends his time creating educational software , and teaching computer programming and math to children. In addition, he runs an NGO called Kalpana learning center.
In his keynote talk, he showcased Kojo, an interactive learning environment for 8 to 80 years old kids (as he calls it :)). Kojo is available as both a standalone native application and as a web-based application. The tool is written completely in Scala, including an internal DSL used for programming in it. Kojo sports a wide range of features. It has a Logo-like turtle graphics API, a pictures API that allows you to create more advanced graphics, program tracing features to visualize execution, music composition features, a virtual “MathLab” with good support for both algebra and geometry, a stories API to author creative works using aforementioned APIs, and a games API to create, well, games.
Lalit’s experience with Scala has been extremely positive. The language that Kojo users (typically children) program in is nothing but Scala, which proves his point that Scala is a language with “low floor, high ceiling, and wide walls”. He described Scala as “Everything under the sun, tastefully put together”, and emphasized that it was because of Scala that he could make Kojo so effective.
Lalit blew many a minds with his demonstration! Audience was quite impressed with Kojo, and said they would recommend it to their kids, nieces and nephews, and in educational institutes they’re aware of.