How long are the classes?

Classes are about an hour but duration varies based on school, time of year, and other factors.

What languages are used?

Kids are taught to code in Small Basic from Microsoft (free at www.smallbasic.com). We have considered teaching in Java, Python, Swift, and other languages and may offer classes in these or others at some point, but for now our focus is Small Basic. Small Basic has a strong community, is easy to install, and the interface and language are very approachable for kids.

What is Small Basic?

Small Basic is a pretty neat little language. It contains the key concepts found in professional languages and IDE’s (integrated development environments) but slimmed down just enough that kids do not get overwhelmed. Small Basic was created by Microsoft to help kids get back into coding. Download for free at www.smallbasic.com

 More on Small Basic here

How are the classes structured?

Kids work in groups and they start coding right away, literally within minutes. We start off with fun visuals and graphics because they are engaging and naturally lead to more complex game development. In each class time is devoted to so called “jams” or “free styles” where kids are encouraged to experiment and show it off to the class. This is where the real learning happens. We also encourage the more advanced kids to help the other kids along. Kids learn from kids in a way adults just can’t replicate.

What will they learn exactly?

Kids will learn the core concepts of programming and some of the more advanced concepts & techniques being used today.

  • Variables
  • Conditions
  • Loops
  • Branching and sub-routines
  • Program flow
  • Graphics
  • Creating shapes (geometry)
  • Objects
  • Methods
  • Events
  • Testing techniques
  • Comments
  • Code structure
  • Modularization

 Are there more advanced classes?

We are working on more advanced dedicated classes, but we have found that kids of different skill levels can learn at their own pace with out anyone getting board or left behind. The instructors do a lot of floating around working one on one through out the class. A natural flow tends to emerge where peers help each other as well.  

Are classes available outside of school?

Right now we are focused on building after school programs but are also exploring independent venues during the week, weekends, and summer camps.

Can we code Minecraft in this?

The most commonly asked question by far by kids! “The folks that created Minecraft started out the way you are now. Learning how to write code.” You don’t learn to play the guitar by using “Guitar Hero” on the Xbox. And you don’t learn to code by moving shapes and blocks around the screen. Those games only exist because someone wrote the code.