It’s Hour of Code Week, also known as Computer Science Education Week. Schools and youth groups across the country are introducing kids to coding through tutorials at Code.org! The site offers loads of tutorials, some of which focus on coding logic and don’t even require computers. My friend Beth Blecherman of the TechMamas blog has a great post for parents about teaching kids to code. It’s full of resources and useful tips.
A few weeks ago, I sent Maker Mom supporter Brandie and her 12-year-old daughter, Emma, to Code and Cupcakes in Chicago. Emma is now a blossoming programming, so when I received an offer from Youth Digital to sample their online class that promised to teach kids to code by making Minecraft mods, I knew who to call. Her review is below.
Teach Kids to Code by Making Minecraft Mods
Youth Digital is a website designed to teach youth ages 8-14 software editing. It has many different courses. Some of the courses you can take include:
- App Making
- Movie Designing
- Making 3D Video Games
- 3D Printing and Modeling
- Minecraft Modding
- 3D Animation
To take the class, you go to the website and log in. After you log in, you click the courses button at the top of the screen to go to the course you have signed up for. Once you get into your class, all the lessons appear and you click the one you are on. That takes you right into the lesson you are on so that you can watch the video that teaches you what to do.
There are also review tests to take during the lesson and at the very end of the lesson is the final review. You earn points and badges for completing things. The points are used to buy things (like swords, special trees) that will make your mod even more awesome.
Right now, I’m taking the Minecraft Modding class. The lessons are really fun, and most of them are very funny (when you’re not editing JAVA)! Because of this class, I’ve downloaded and worked with new programs like Eclipse, an integrated development environment, and GIMP for image editing.
So far, I’ve named my mod The Extreme Chicken Mod. I named it this because I love chickens! I’ve also designed my sword and I named it Chicken Slayer. Even though I named it Chicken Slayer, but I do for real, love chickens! I also have a pickaxe which I call the Chicken Miner. I hope later on I can make a chicken ore that the chicken miner will mine very fast!
I really like Youth Digital because they’re very specific when it comes to writing JAVA code. Don’t forget your commas, colons, and other characters that JAVA will be mad at you if you forget. So makes sure not to forget anything. And I mean anything at all!
One thing that is both good and bad for me is that there are no specific days and times to do your work. You just have to do the classes within 1 year. I like the flexibility because I’m really busy, but at the same time I don’t like that because sometimes I wait a little … okay sometimes way too long, to move on to another lesson!
As far as improvements, I wish is that the video on the site was updated to the latest Minecraft update. I mean, they don’t have to make a whole new video, but at least maybe some side videos or notes would be helpful.
Even though it’s not fully updated, Youth Digital is really fun. I would recommend this game to all my friends who play Minecraft. And if you want to learn JAVA and make your own Minecraft mod, I suggest this class 100%.
This course typically has a fee of $249 and is valid for one year. It was provided to our guest poster at no charge. All opinions are her own.