Every afternoon this spring, Mr. Spear and eight Berkshire students are engaged in the process of programming. While a difficult pursuit, it's also become a source of great satisfaction and, yes, even fun! Jimmy Chung is creating a game in which a Ninja is running and avoiding thrown knives; Catherine Xu chose to present cats defending their owners from squirrels, dogs, and mice. Elif Kesaf programmed a crocodile eating popcorn, while Maarten Van't Wout and Savas Tutumulu coded a flying smiley face eating birds and avoiding falling coconuts.
Mr. Spear describes how this project developed here:
I started making games about three years ago, and it quickly became my favorite thing to do. It combines problem solving with creativity in a way that I find very enjoyable. I knew that certain students at Berkshire would also find it enjoyable and rewarding, so last year I approached Mr.Splawn about starting an after-school activity. He was very supportive of the idea and helped make it a reality.
I am impressed with the way things have progressed. We are using an intro to game programming framework developed by the Computer Science Department at Lehigh University. It was designed for first year college students who have never programmed before, and I was unsure of what to expect from our students here at Berkshire. However, they have clearly demonstrated that they can handle it. It is all about making progress and learning a little more each day, and that is exactly what they are doing.
See a slideshow from the class here: