In exchange for going to a computer conference in August, I’ve volunteered to do programming workshops for kids at a Chicago area social services center.  This past Tuesday was my first visit.  Up until Tuesday, I hadn’t thought too much about the first session.  The kids were supposed to be at a beginner’s level so I printed out a demo card I found somewhere on the ed tech part of the Scratch website and brought copies of that with me.  I was pretty nervous just before the kids came in the room because I just didn’t know what to expect, what they’d be like and what they’d think of the class and how they would behave.  Funny, since I have three kids of my own.  Well, they weren’t disturbed (that I could tell) and they certainly weren’t slow.  They all easily surpassed the beginner’s level of Scratch proficiency and went straight ahead to intermediate level concepts.  I’d started out asking them to make or load a couple characters.  Then they experimented with the characters’ appearances.  Some kids moved straight on to adding movement and backgrounds, and I asked the others to do the same.  By the end of class, all the kids had some interesting scenes with some type of movement.  Besides being really quick, the kids were funny and friendly too.  And in true kid form, they were completely sweet and attentive when they needed help, but completely ignored me when they didn’t need or want help and instruction.  🙂  It was good to have that first class done.  Now I’m planning some more challenging work for this coming Tuesday’s session.  I’m hoping they’ll like to continue with their characters saved from last week but control their movement in a purposeful way to have the character either tell a story or play a part in the animation that has some meaning or direction.  This should involve using loops or nested loops with either ‘repeat’ or ‘forever’ statements.  Hopefully they will also be able to add a sensor function that allows one of the program characters to then react to an event, like a mouse click, etc.  I’ve gone through my own example and taken screen shots at each step.  I put the images together in a report-like format so I can give them each a printed out copy.  I’d also like to post it in the tech ed forum so other people can comment.

Otherwise just working on STATS101 and CS101 on Udacity.  I started four classes at different points from this spring to this summer and I’m hoping to finish all of them before fall semester starts the last week of August.  Just over a month away now…!

Well, I was also reading this interesting book about game design for a few days… Level Up!  I had Raspberry Pi and Pygame in mind while reading it, but haven’t fired up the Raspberry Pi yet or installed Pygame.  The line-following robot is waiting for a body and I figured making myself wait on the RPi until the robot body was finished would ensure the robot would be finished… Not that the line-following robot isn’t interesting, but it got postponed through spring and summer school work and I don’t want to postpone it forever.  Besides, the little people in the house demand that we finish it soon!

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