I admit it, I like shiny objects. A new shiny object comes along and I have to go look at it and play with it. I like shiny objects in my programming classes. Shiny objects attract students. My latest shiny object is Unity. I have been poking through the tutorials as mentioned in my previous post and decided this is one of the best shiny objects I have ever seen. Then I stumbled on Unity with Google VR (Google Cardboard apps). It is now so shiny it is blinding. I found this tutorial (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFGOhZJwoFw) on how to make Google Cardboard apps. Ohhh, super shiny!!!
Now the question is: is this really programming or Computer Science? I have to admit that I do not think it is the traditional concept of either. But oh boy does it get the kids interested in the field. It gets the kids wondering what else is out there that can take them in interesting directions. Traditional programming and CS is not for everyone. Just look at typical class sizes in a high school Java or Python course. The percentage is real low. I have said many times I am not training programmers in my classes, I am teaching kids how to learn to program. (I am not a good enough programmer to teach programmers.) I want my kids to come out of my classes saying “That was interesting. Maybe I will take a closer look at CS/programming to see what else is out there.” Unity is a hook. Set the hook deep enough and maybe they will stay with it. With shiny objects like this I can hook a whole lot of kids that normally would never look in this direction.
I will not retire my Python and Java courses, they still have their place for the kids that are really into programming but with Unity and Lumberyard (my next learning project) I can get a whole new population of kids thinking.