Learning Programming the Way Kids Do

A few weeks ago, me and a couple of neighbors from our town in Metuchen, NJ started up a “CoderDojo” – it’s a programming club for kids that we are running at the local library.

I’ve been a programmer for a long time, but it turns out there’s all sorts of interesting educational tools out there that are exactly what we need to get these kids working on at the club. It’s a lot of new stuff for me, using lots of cool and fun technologies. A lot of it centers around a project developed at MIT called “Scratch Studio.”

So lately I’ve been learning about how Scratch works, and trying out some simple animation and game ideas as a way to practice basic Scratch programming techniques (and keep one step ahead of the kids we are mentoring!).

Here’s my latest creation – it’s a silly little maze game where you have to bring the blue snack over to the yellow creature. It’s got lots of bugs and there’s lots of ways I could make it more fun (that’s the beauty of programming!) but for now, it just kind of works…

Check-out Maze-Dot!

For more info about what we’ve been up to with the club, hope you’ll check-out our website.

Starting up a CoderDojo in Metuchen, New Jersey…

I’ve got a new personal project that I’m pretty excited about – CoderDojo Metuchen.

A guy in my town put out the call recently for anyone who was interested in working on this project. I jumped on it.

The idea is, you find ways to encourage and mentor learning to program (code!) in kids and teens.

I like mentoring, so that’s a plus. And I think getting youths involved in interesting activities and projects is another good thing. And, I’ve been looking for good volunteer opportunities for a while but always wanting to find something I had a passion about – not just something that someone else could be doing just as well as me.

This, I think I can do better than most. And that’s a good way for me to spend my time, in my humble opinion.

We shall see. 🙂