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I'll be teaching an introductory programming course next year at the high school level. Most of my students will be tech-savvy and dreaming of becoming the next big game designer, but probably won't have any actual programming experience. I've found that with most students in this age group, their expectations don't quite line up with reality. They want to see things moving around on the screen pretty quickly, and when all they see is text, I lose their interest.

I'll be starting them out with Scratch (, if you haven't seen it) to teach some of the basic concepts like variables and looping. For the inevitable move to a real language, I'd like to switch them to Perl, since that's where most of my experience is. I've worked several years doing automation and text processing tasks in Perl. But that brings me to my "text == yawn" dilemma.

What are some blingy things I can pull out to keep their attention? Something that they could write Pong or Pac-Man in would be great, but I know a lot of these graphic libraries have a ton of overhead. It'd be hard to drop total beginners into that sort of thing without a lot of frustration. I'm happy to sacrifice features, I just really want low overhead for simplicity's sake.

Any suggestions?

A fair fight is a sign of poor planning.

In reply to Bling Bling (or: Teaching Perl to Teenagers) by Sprad

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