Code Monkey Club
Well I am back for my second year of holding lunch session with kids at River West Park teaching coding. I learned quite a bit from my first year and I’ve changed the offering a little bit. In my first year. I created the exercises in MineCraft. This was both good and bad. Good as it immediately got kids engaged with the exercises, but bad because the kids were more focused on doing things in the game instead of learning about coding. I got a lot of feedback that the kids loved the sessions but the kids then wanted to learn how to build entire worlds in MineCraft and create videos on YouTube. Clearly, I needed to think about this a little differently.
The white knight for me were the excellent resources that are available for everyone on code.org. The exercises illustrate programming concepts and fundamentals and are available for everyone to use. They leverage existing games/themes like Flappy Bird, Star Wars, and MineCraft.
The best part is the interface that code.org has where the kids can drag and drop logic blocks and then see the results in playing the game immediately. The interface is ideal for getting kids excited and receiving positive feedback on their work. Even better, my kid’s school had already done some of the basic exercises so they knew the interface.
If you are interested, you can find the exercises at the following link
What I add
I’ve just had one session, but so far the content allows for the kids to learn more and be more engaged! I get to spend less time managing/troubleshooting exercises and more time assisting the kids with the exercises. Since the kids have already taken some of the basic exercises, I am also able to focus on the exercises that reinforce/introduce more advanced programming fundamentals. This allows me to add insight and details on what is really happening behind the scenes with the program.
So I think this is a great set of exercises, but we will see as we work through them. But so far, they are engaging the kids more, teaching them new concepts, and allowing me to add detail and insight were appropriate.
And I think we are still having fun!