Computer Club is over! Thanks to all who participated.
The goal of the Computer Science Club would be to introduce students to computer programming. Furthermore it would endeavor to build teamwork and collaboration skills through project based learning and problem solving. Hand-in-hand with this, would come an appreciation of architecture, design, volume and sustainability within through the use of different programs. Campbell students would also get a safe introduction to playing/connecting to an online server and good digital citizenship. I would also like to see as many girls as possible join the club, as recently released research from Google shows that there is a real gender imbalance in students graduating with degrees in Computer Science and Engineering. The founder and inventor of DropBox, Drew Houston, has described computer programming as the closest thing we have to a Super Power - which seems about right for Computer Club!
Programs we use.
1. Microsoft Kodu.
A free programming software offered by Microsoft. The goal of Kodu, is to encourage game creation and a realization that computer programming (or coding) can be a creative activity. The core of the Kodu project is the programming user interface and the Kodu language which is entirely icon-based. The program helps students with critical thinking, breaking a complex goal into manageable steps, and understanding that design is an iterative process – an approach applicable to all academic subjects, business and personal relationships.
A free program from Google, Sketch-Up is used by architects, civil engineers, filmmakers and game developers. Students will build a 3-D model of a house then download components available from Google Warehouse. The program also allows a student to import pre-made models which can then be painted or textured, without complex building techniques. Thus even if construction tasks prove difficult, or of less interest, ‘painting’ a model of choice can be a valuable exercise. Students may also view a short slide show of unique school buildings designed internationally. Students can choose one to present to the class, including information about the role of geometry within the unique design of their building. Sketchup is being successfully used by individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), offering individuals an alternative to handwriting when expressing their knowledge, a possible vocational tool, and a way to virtually interact with new and challenging environments before having to face them in person. Google has created Project Spectrum around Sketchup in an effort to make SketchUp and related learning materials more widely available to the ASD community.
Minecraft isn’t a learning game. It’s not designed to teach you math, problem solving skills or community building, but it has the potential to do all three. The premise of Minecraft is simple: dig up resources (like wood, stone and dirt) combine them together to make other things (shovels, swords, armor and much more) and use the resources to build stuff (homes, roller-coasters, boats, castles, and anything else you can think of.) For teachers, Minecraft is the ideal game to use in the class because it is so open-ended, totally flexible and affordable. At Campbell we have this opportunity thanks to an MEF grant. Students around the world have had learning success with Minecraft. Some examples are:
MinecraftEdu (http://minecraftedu.com/) Minecraft's official educational platform. Tools here are specifically designed for teachers to use Minecraft in their classroom.
Minecraft in Schools (http://minecraftinschool.pbworks.com) An online hub for many after school Minecraft clubs. We are also using Minecraft for Education.
A free download from the MIT Media Lab. With Scratch, you can code your own interactive games, stories, animations, and more. Scratch helps students to think creatively, reason systematically, and again, work collaboratively, essential skills for life in the 21st century. Scratch and other programs such as Tynker, can be found on the Code.org website which we would use in Computer Science Club also.