Thursday, 15 January 2015

Coding Camp

It's been a little busy here at homeschool central. And not in the usual way. I signed C up for a coding 'camp'. No, not a real camp in the bush.  Actually just hanging out in a room with other kids who love programming, with mentors for each child to help them learn how to code. After one day, C begged to be able to go back - so I signed him up for another day - and that wrecked my schedule, so this post is a day late! But it was worth it.



Coding camp was all about learning scratch, which is awesome. It's a visual programming language written by MIT which makes the process of how code works visible. A for or while loop has all the processes within that loop embedded in a bracket so it's easy to see and edit. C finally decided it was worth a look a few weeks ago, and now he's on a roll. (Helped along by Mr Gelston, his awesome maths tutor.)


A for loop in scratch

So far C's created a lot of very funny animations and two games - a maze game and a car shooting game. The latter is based on some unspeakably silly rally car game he plays with my DH.

And then they introduced him to Minecraft. Suddenly we have a convert, and I'm not sure I'm cool with that, yet. But it's a lot of fun and they don't just play it, they program it. So that's OK. I think.

So far, C has declared that he wants to do code camp every day. Alas, they only run the long full day ones in summer, and then move to short weekend sessions (once a fortnight) in term time. Oh dear. He was a little disappointed.

I know he'll also at some point be learning python. Now, for those who know me a little, you know I'm rather fond of that programming language. And I'm trying to be a good parent and not swamp him with cool stuff before he is ready. But ... well, it's so awesome. (BTW, yes I've been to nerdy coding conferences.) I'm very excited. And exhausted.

Because while C was happily coding, J and I got to run all over the nearby beach, get soaked, covered in sand and still not actually slow down. Then J spent hours running from room to room with an adorable little girl with Downs as they played games together. While us mothers tried to make sure they didn't destroy any computers or each other. Perhaps I'm not used it it anymore - I think I rely on C to play with J more than I realise. (And well, no, we couldn't sit down as both kids are runners and it would take only one accidentally opened door in a a very crowded room for it to end in disaster ...sigh).  The second day, (which was raining), we thankfully avoided the beach and I dragged poor J on a long bus trip. Sitting down, see. With lots of pretty scenery. It worked a treat and I'm now only a little bit completely exhausted, not unable to raise my arms-level exhausted. Victory!

All in all, a success. I hope. Coding wins!

***

If you are interested in other computer resources for beginners, check out:

And some links on programming philosophy for those less technically inclined but still fascinated by it all:
These are by no means a comprehensive list - there are many other cool and worthy writings out there - enjoy the adventure . . .

2 comments:

  1. Love this! Just started my oldest on code.org but I'm looking for additional options. It was nice to read this and think about other ways it can be incorporated. A camp is really neat!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, it was. A rare combination of playing and writing computer games and playing and talking with other gifted / 2e kids. Worth every cent!

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