MakerShare- connecting with developers and sharing our learning.

EU CodeWeek 2014 began with over 120 enthusiastic makers coming together from 5 International Schools. A community came to life!

We continued to discover, inquire and create.
One MakerShare, One MakerFaire, Two Expert Google Hangouts, Three Specialist Workshop, Four Maker Galleries.

Developing code through the arts!

Connecting developers with both students and teachers was one of our highlights where we were fortunate to engage with Hopscotch founder and CEO Jocelyn Leavitt and Liza Conrad via a Google Hangout.

Hopscotch for Educators featured a workshop to create original visual artwork- Mondrianize, followed with Q&A discussing ways in which Hopscotch could be used in the classroom. Check out Hopscotch resources here
Here’s the recording of our workshop.

At the end of the week we connected our elementary students with the Hopscotch team. We built a game together.
Like video games? Make your own game with Hopscotch!
Enjoy the chaos of creation as 60 learners build their first game together.

The proceeding Q&A was particularly empowering as we were given an insight into how Hopscotch game to life and how creative problem solving is a vital component to developing ideas.

Here are the highlights from the session first published on Medium
Why did you make Hopscotch?
Jocelyn- I used to be a teacher and loved working with kids and that’s how I first got excited about it!…people like myself had great ideas, but didn’t know how to build them.

What I wanted to do was make something that would make it really easy for kids like you guys to get started to learn how to build software, because our idea is that while may be all of you are not going to grow up to become professional software engineers, it’s really useful to know how these things work, how the software we use all around us every day works.

How is Hopscotch made?
Jocelyn- It’s written in a language called Objective C, there are thousands of programming languages out there. Objective C is the language that is written for the iOS platform which is used in all the products that Apple makes. There are lots of programming languages, Hopscotch is actually a programming language! Just like you guys do in your Hopscotch projects, we began by thinking,

“What is the problem that we want to solve, what is the goal we want to accomplish?”

So when you made your games today in your workshop, you first had an idea about this game and then you started thinking, “Ok, if I want my Monkey to travel across the screen and bump into somebody else and go back”.

You start breaking that (this problem) into smaller steps and start tackling it one piece at a time.
When you make an app you do the exact same thing, just on a larger scale and it takes a little bit longer.
One of the most fun parts is that you make a lot of mistakes and have a lot of fun fixing them, learning things along the way.

Sometimes you do things that you don’t even realise are mistakes and when you show it to somebody else and they try it, it doesn’t work so you have to try and fix it.

We highly recommend user testing all the things that you make in Hopscotch. Have an idea for something, figure out what it’s going to look like and draw it out.

With Hopscotch we said, “This is what we want it to look like, this is how we want it to work”. Firstly we did this on paper and then we turned it into the app. We showed it to some people and we were wrong about somethings so we had to go back and fix it. We put out product releases every month and a lot of times the changes we release for the app are new ideas but some are fixes to old things that we thought would work but were wrong about

Just like with all aspects of our learning, it’s trial and error and not being afraid to make mistakes.

Mistakes are a cool thing that you can learn from, we make a lot of them and should be encouraged.Most important thing is to put your ideas out there because sometimes we have this saying, “It’s a feature not a bug”

We’ll put something out there very quickly, and think oh you know its not perfect but we’ll go back and fix it and people like the part that we were going to go back and fix so we just keep it.

How many lines of code do you think you’ve written?
Jocelyn- It’s a pretty large code base- Hundreds of Thousands!!!!

How many lines of Objective C would go into a Hopscotch block of code?

Jocelyn- Around 20 but there’s so much else in the rest of the structure, that once we define how a block works then we separate each.

Is there the possibility to be able to see inside a project?
Liza- We actually open sourced some of our code recently, so it is possible to see inside what it looks like.

Jocelyn- You can also send a file as an email to someone and it sends as a .json file which if you open in a text editor you can see the code.

Then it was Liza’s turn to pose a question to the students

How many of you want to go home and tell your parents what you did today?
Followed with a challenge- This evening or over the weekend tell someone about what you built today and try working on something together- we’ve found that the most fun we’ve had when working with Hopscotch is when we work together.
“Tell someone else and work on a project together”

Thank you to Jocelyn & Liza for inspiring our students and supporting them in their first steps into learning to code.
Often as educators we are wondering how to further develop critical thinking and problem solving skills whilst encouraging learners to be independent and curious.

Have you ever built a digital poem, created art in the style of a master or animated science?

Learning to code offers transformative approaches to addressing these vital skills and can pave the way for the next generation to solve some of the worlds greater challenges, changing the world one block of code at a time.

At our MakerShare students guided parents & teachers through the creations they had made throughout the week-the goal to teach one thing to someone else.

Developing digital leaders through learning to code!

EU Code Week 2014 began a new story of collaboration and creativity which will continue to inspire as we embed web literacies and coding engagements into our curricula…

Look out for Scratch Flat Cat as it travels around the world.


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