I am bored. Sometimes that is good, sometimes that is bad. When I get bored I use the kids to cure my boredom. Sometimes that is good, sometimes that is bad.
My programming class has been moving along very nicely through the textbook and the programming problems. (I should say three of the four are moving along nicely. Number four struggles.) They have been moving so well that we are getting bored with Python. We need a break from Python. Something to refresh the mind. Something that will take our mind off the fact winter is on the way and the sky is gloomy. So I have come up with an idea. This will either be a fun divergence or a major can of worms. My ideas are usually the latter but I still have them. We are going to play with Kodu. Now if this were a semester long course I would not diverge like this but I have these kids for the year. Lots of time to go all sorts of places.
In my review of stand-alone programming for beginners (no teacher needed) I accidentally stumbled on Pacman for Kodu. There are some YouTube tutorials. The tutorials still make the traditional 2-D game with Kodu. No biggie there. I am going to elevate the game to 3 –D with bridges. (Did you get that? “elevate”. I am so proud of myself for that one.) We will start by following the tutorials and get that working. We will then mangle the playing field with bridges and non-symmetric paths. There will be some programming involved but I am after the thinking and designing part of CS here. And some just plain fun. If this works I might take the exercise on to Project Spark. There may be a glitch here since Project Spark requires a minimum of an i5 processor. I have one i5 loaner and I will have to see what the kids have.
For some people programming is fun; problem solving, a puzzle, a challenge to make the better mouse trap. For some people programming is like watching paint dry. My programming classes are usually filled with the former. Hopefully my little divergences will keep the former from turning into the latter.