Just got back from a workshop Greenfoot and Minecraft programming for 20 kids (around 12 years old) including my daughter. All kids are in the first class of high school (Citadel College in Lent, the Netherlands) and are required to organize a workshop lasting 2 to 3 hours. Since my daughter asked me to participate in this workshop, we discussed the contents and agreed on a set of workshops from the Devoxx4kids community.
I asked them to prepare their laptops by installing Greenfoot, Java, Eclipse and Minecraft Forge. We sure had a lot of fun and a fair amount of kids were really motivated to continue to work on these workshops in their own time.
This is what I learned:
- 3 hours is definitely not enough to do both workshops.
Next time, pick smaller assignments.
- despite of the good work of the Devoxx4kids people, a lot can go wrong during installing and configuring stuff, especially for Minecraft Forge.
Automate these preparations in any way.
- kids love to play games and are curious how these games are developed. Some of them are also curious how stuff can be added to games.
Games help with learning difficult things.
- workshops like these help kids to think about what they like to build for their own. I heard some great ideas for new apps and games!
Kids are really creative.
Even though most of the kids got stuck somewhere in these workshops they showed persistence to get stuff to work and they asked great questions. Some of them asked me if we can meet sometime to continue the workshop or to learn how to build their own app. A nice result of a workshop that didn’t really went as I expected!
A side result of the workshop was a short meeting with one of the math teachers to discuss the application of eduScrum at school. He got me a few good practices that can be used in our eduScrum pilot in September.