JIFFEE in the Classroom

"It is against the grain of modern education to teach children to program. What fun is there in making plans, acquiring discipline in organizing thoughts, devoting attention to detail, and learning to be self-critical?"
- Alan Perlis

How Can Interactive Fiction Help Me in the Classroom?

Interactive Fiction involves both language skills and logical thinking, so although it has long been eclipsed in popular culture by graphics-based games, I believe it still has value as an educational tool.

Special note for classroom use: Many schools' networks are configured to deny access to websites that are deemed inconsistent with the school's educational mission, and jiffeegames.com sometimes get blocked because the name looks like a game site. If this happens to you, try using any of these instead:

(These all lead to exactly the same web pages, so it doesn't matter which one you use.)

Has This Been Tried Before?

To put my ideas to a practical test, I've been using JIFFEE as part of an apprenticeship for Middle School students offered through Citizen Schools since the spring of 2008. You are welcome to look over the course material I've used there:

You can also try out the games that my apprentices at McKinley Institute of Technology have written in their apprenticeships. Bear in mind that these were written by middle school students who had never seen Interactive Fiction before, and we only had about 7 hours to actually write code, so these games don't have all the polish of something you'd buy in a store. They do, however, show the creativity of the kids when allowed to express it freely.

JIFFEE has also been shown at a couple of conferences:

Where Can I Talk About Using JIFFEE in Education?