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Stop Teaching Children Code!

Stop Teaching Children Code!

Presented at CodeStock 2015


Michael C. Neel

July 10, 2015

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  1. Stop Teaching Children Code! by Michael C. Neel

  2. CodeStock to Technology Cooperative

  3. None
  4. A New Approach Is Needed…

  5. Understanding How I Learned

  6. Ownership

  7. Ownership • The computer must be the child's • The

    computer is kept by the child, and they can access it on their own • There should be no consequence to anyone but the child if it breaks • Something is better than nothing, but nothing beats a real machine
  8. The Child’s Pace

  9. The Child’s Pace • Do not reach for the keyboard

    • Do not reach for the keyboard • Do not make me say it again! • Wait for the question before giving the answer • Allow diversions • Be a grandmother!
  10. Not Understanding Is Okay

  11. Not Understanding Is Okay • Keep things moving • Don’t

    worry about asking if the child understands • It’s okay to give them working code to copy • Modifying and observing results is learning!
  12. It’s Not About Code

  13. It’s Not About Code • Code is a means to

    an end • Let that sink in • Find out the child’s interests and let that set the goal • Be ready to pivot with changing interest • But do stress the need to finish
  14. STEM – A Four Letter Word

  15. STEM + ART = STEAM


  17. Watch Out for Drive-by STEM • “Hour of Code” •

    One Day / Weekend Camp • Student / Teacher Ratio • True Outreach? Ask about scholarship participation • Short events can be a great start, but education takes time • I’ve yet to find an effective method that scales – 1:1
  18. Working with Children • All children “Want To Learn” •

    You may need to help the child engage (school, home) • Some children need to move, or play music – let them! • Different methods for different children (Common Core or even New Math may be the answer!) • Understand your own background and do not assume it’s the same for the child
  19. Teaching Video Games

  20. Teaching Video Games • Common area for many children •

    An area I personally am passionate about • A large set of skills to work on (Art, Code, Music, Writing, Math, Physics, Psychology) • Tools for all skill and experience levels • Allow a great deal of self expression • Can be run on the mobile devices children already have to share with friends and family
  21. Scratch • Flash Based IDE and Engine (Java IDE still

    available) • Free from MIT • Share Games on Scratch Website • Block based scripting • Good place to start with young children scratch.mit.edu
  22. App Inventor 2 • HTML5 IDE for Android Apps •

    Free from MIT • Scratch Like Scripting • Deploy directly to and debug on any Android device • Good place to start with young children and children interested in making games for their phone • I’ve used successfully it with very cheap ($50) devices! ai2.appinventor.mit.edu
  23. GameMaker • Simple yet Powerful Game Engine • Desktop free,

    web and mobile paid add ons • Basic scripting via wizards • Advanced scripting via custom language • Good for children to advanced for Scratch but not ready for Unity yoyogames.com/studio
  24. Construct 2 • HTML5 Game Engine • Also supports desktop

    and mobile (some costs, web free) • Built for 2D games • Scripting via wizards • Advanced scripting with Javascript • Good starting platform for making games and for more art focused children Scirra.com/construct2
  25. RenPy • Visual Novel Engine • Open Source • Scripting

    in Python • Python is subtle at first • Visual Novels may appeal to children not into traditional games or those wanting to be a storyteller. Renpy.org
  26. Unity • “Real” Game Engine • Scripting in C# /

    .Net MONO • Free to use and sell (under $100K revenue) • Large Platform Support • Best for older children with some code experience Unity3d.com
  27. Thank You – michael.neel@gmail.com / @ViNull TechCo.org KnoxGameDesign.org Meetup Sun

    2PM - Quest for Fun!