This Friday: Kids are programming at the CoWS

Announcing a first programming workshop at the CoWS this Friday – for parents and children.

We will be looking at programming environments that are appealing to kids. The workshop will be led by Karl Auer.

When:  This Friday, 4 April 2014, 6pm
Where: At CoWS (209 Carp Street Bega), where else?
What:  A demo of the programming language/game Scratch
(And maybe a demo of the Corona SDK for mobile development)
Who:   Karl Auer, Aurin Yang
Cost:  Gold coin donation to CoWS, kids free
RSVP:  Not necessary, but appreciated.

Scratch is a programming tool. It’s a graphical environment with colourful programming elements that you can drag and drop so they snap together. It is really easy to make and control things like sprites, plus there are lots of pre-made ones that you can use straight away. Programming gratification is literally only minutes away 🙂

Behind the fun there is a serious purpose – teaching programming. Anyone will get a buzz out of it, but it is aimed squarely at the absolute beginner – and definitely including kids of pretty much any age. If they understand click, drag and drop, they can probably enjoy Scratch.

Most programming features are there, like repeat/until, if/then/else, global and local variables, arithmetic and logical operators and so on. Plus it’s inherently object oriented, with a simple but effective message-passing mechanism. None of which you need to know about, care about or understand to get started and have fun!

Scratch works on a bunch of operating systems including Linux, MSWindows and OSX, and there is also an online version that you can use if you don’t want to actually install it. A thriving community means there are zillions of sample programs to learn from, and of course you can contribute your own.

The demo will go for half and hour or so plus questions, longer if the interest is there.

You can download Scratch here: http://scratch.mit.edu/

Aurin will demo the Kodu Gamelab, an immersive environment for developing 3D games and simulations. It currently runs only on Windows and XBOX and it is very fun to play with. Like Scratch, it has a very active community and lots of example games to get inspirations from. Aurin has played with Kodu during most of his computer time (which is only 2 hours on weekends) and he wants to share his enthusiasm for this platform.

You can download Kodu here: http://www.kodugamelab.com/

See you Friday!