Thursday, August 15, 2013

Digital Media Academy - Teaching Kids to Code


A couple of months ago, I wrote about the importance of teaching students how to program.  I was a CIS (Computer Information Systems) major in college before I decided to go into education.  As one who enjoyed programming, I believe it is beneficial for students and adults alike. So, I decided to expose my 13 year old son, Sebastian.  He attended the Digital Media Academy at the University of Texas this summer.  He spent 5 days learning to code with Unity3D.  His biggest take aways from the whole experience were:

  • Coding is a different language that forces you to thing logically
  • 3D figures require you to know density, height, width, length, etc.
  • Scripting - nothing moves in your game unless you have scripts
  • Making a game on unity requires you start out in a empty dimension. To actually make the game, you must know how to use an XYZ coordinate plane.  
  • When coding a script, titles and commands must be uniform throughout the program.



So what does coding with unity look like?  For each type of action, Sebastian had to compose different scripts.  See below:



After getting all the components together - he had enough elements for level 1.  According to him, it takes at least 30 levels to create a small game.  Here is some video of me trying to play his game and getting killed quickly:


video

Whether we are in the library or in the classroom, our job as librarians is to expose students to effective tools to help them learn.  Coding has so many benefits for students.  Maybe you can host a coding class in library or expose teachers to all the free resources available to students.  You can refer to my earlier blog about coding here:  http://librariansonthefly.blogspot.com/2013/06/coding-have-you-considered-using-it-in.html


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