You can however, make someone hate programming forever in 4 days!
Have your read Mind Storms - Children, Computers and Powerful Ideas by Seymour Papert the inventor of Logo ?
Thanks so much for this writeup, I enjoyed it thoroughly. Having more than one technical adult to handle the bimodal class split is very key.
Another thing I have found useful is to have demos where the kids change only one or two things in the script to see what effect it has on the output program. Getting them to type in code rather just run it aids in muscle-brain memory. Some of the example code might overwhelm them a bit all.those.dots and such, might make a wrapper onto of direct minecraft.
No, but I have now :) A lovely essay/paper/thingy.
I’m glad you enjoyed the write-up! I’ve been fiddling with the code trying to simplify it and document it a bit more so kids have more obvious levers to pull in the source. Hopefully that will help :)
I have the feeling that this code was written to work first and teach second. This is unfortunate, but so it goes.
If you get a chance, it would be nice to follow up either with the students and/or the parents to get some feedback. I would be really curious what the candor of the conversation was between the child and the parents after the camp.
Did they keep the Pis?
No, sadly we can’t afford to give them away :/ But I do know that at least 5 of the 13 ordered one after the 4th day!
It might be helpful if you could have them take home their own environment for a fee. Then they would know that everything worked and it might not just end up in a box…
Also check out The Children’s Machine another great book by Papert.
As you can tell, I am a huge fan of constructionism.
It looks like you had a great experience. Thanks for the writeup. One thing though, don’t Minecraft licenses cost money? Did you need to purchase a license for each RPi?
Mojang released a free version for the Raspberry Pi: http://pi.minecraft.net/
That’s awesome! I thought it was something like that.
An excellent write up of the challenges of engaging people with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), introducing children to programming.
The use of peer teaching - where the children who get the idea teach the others, can be really useful in this environment - even if they don’t manage to teach the other child it will help cement their learning.