cccSkerries – The First Three Years of my Creative Computer Classes

The door to the cccSkerries room first opened in July 2013.

It’s hard to believe that I’m about to begin the fourth year of summer camps in what used to be our guest bedroom and what I now call “the cccSkerries training room.”

In the summer of 2012, I decided to become a self-employed digital educator, and – after four years as a primary teacher – to focus on what I enjoyed most in teaching: Helping kids to express their creativity through digital means, to enable them to achieve their aims through technology, and to have fun in the process.

Looking back, I can say that this was the best move ever!

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Hour of Code 2015

This December, practically all cccSkerries groups are participating in the Hour of Code. Starting with code.org/mc we watched Jeb of Mojang / Minecraft fame and then worked our way through a coding tutorial – amusing for those who can already code, and a good introduction for those who can’t. Why not try it yourself? 🙂

It being Minecraft-themed added to its attractiveness, of course.

And then there are those of us who like Doctor Who.

So we are trying their Game Maker platform as well. This is more assembling a game than actual coding, but worth a go as well, especially to those of us who are Whovians and maybe find the time until the Christmas Special that little bit long…

Hit the pic to open it!

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By the way, if you would like to join one of our cccSkerries classes, or know somebody who would, we have limited availability at the moment for Introduction to Coding, Minecraft Club, and Computer Wizards. Start in January!

See cccSkerries.com/weekly or contact me at Sabine@cccSkerries.com!

A Minecraft Space Station Project

In the summer of 2015, during a number of sessions of our cccSkerries Minecraft Club, Eoin (age 10) used the time to build something great.

While the others were having adventures on our shared server, he created two space stations and four fighter planes.

This was done for the 2015 EUMETSAT  Learning Zone Minecraft Competition.

EUMETSAT is the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites, and Ireland is one of its 30 member countries.

We made a short video (just over four minutes) of his entry – hope you like it!

PS: Unfortunately, the entry didn’t win a prize – but it’s still fantastic, don’t you think? The judges said: “It was a real challenge to evaluate the wide range of satellites from so many entrants as fairly as possible. All of the designs were exceptional from their backgrounds, ideas and / or interpretations, to the amount of effort that went into them.” See the 2015 Learning Zone Minecraft Results page for the winners.

Sabine in dlr Libraries

I’ll be in Dún Laoghaire / Rathdown a good bit in April & May, so if you know someone in the right age interested in Scratch (Deansgrange) and / or Minecraft (Dún Laoghaire, Stillorgan, Blackrock), pass on the word! 3 sessions, free, must be booked with the libraries directly.
Scratch Coding Deansgrange: 3x Wed April 15/22/29
3-4.30 Age 7-10yrs /1st-3rd class
5-.6.30 Age 10-12yrs/ 4th-6th class
deansgrangelib@dlrcoco.ie

Minecraft Dlr LexIcon 3x Wed in May: 6/13/20
3-4.30 1st-3rd class
& 5-6.30 4th to 6th class
dlrlexiconlib@dlrcoco.ie
Minecraft Stillorgan library. 3x Thurs in May: 7/14/21
3.30-5pm 10-12yr olds
stillorganlib@dlrcoco.ie

Minecraft Blackrock library 3x Sat Mornings in May: 16/23/30
75 mins sessions
10-11.15 for 7-10yrs
11.30-12.45 for 10-12yrs.
blackrocklib@dlrcoco.ie

Sabine in dlr April May 2015

Why Multiplayer Games Might Be Good for Your Child

We’ve all seen it … once a kid is old enough to play computer games, the fascination grows and grows, and it sometimes seems very difficult to control their desire to immerse themselves fully in this virtual world. And this temptation will not get any smaller – just think what gadgets like the Oculus Rift will mean!

One issue I have with too much computer interaction is that it makes you think that cause and effect are always clearly and logically linked. You click “print” – your document prints. You click “send” – your email wings its way to its recipient. You tap your left mouse button – Minecraft Steve destroys a block of dirt; you tap your right mouse button – the same block is placed somewhere. And so on.

Life is not like that. At least not for a lot of the time. You do A, B, C – and F happens, or maybe I, or X, but not D. You mention you’d like to go for a cuppa, and all of a sudden there’s a dozen of you in Olive’s. You had thought one or two others maybe! But that’s fine. You ask a friend a simple question, and they look at you funny, turn around and walk away. Leaving you baffled. But you can wait for an explanation – maybe something happened that you are not aware of.

Learning to read people, learning to expect the unexpected and deal with it, is part of growing up. Too much of “I press X, then Y must happen” can make this realisation difficult for today’s youngsters.

And this is where I see a possible role for multiplayer games. Via the internet (and – especially for younger children – hopefully well-monitored and with clear community guidelines), children interact online. In our house, it was mainly Club Penguin at first, then Minecraft. And it was not always sunshine and ice cream… at times, there were even tears when someone had promised to play together but didn’t show up, or when a Minecraft creation was accidentally destroyed by another player.

But these things are good! They offer learning experiences. They help the child understand that if you do x, y does not always follow, and they help to learn how to deal with this fact.
The way our children learn about the world is profoundly different from the way it was when we were young. It can be difficult to understand, even for someone with such an eager interest in all things digital (and such a drive to be playing when I can). There are dangers out there, and I will address how to do our best to keep them manageable in a future blog post.

However, the advent of multiplayer games has added a certain unpredictability, and that is something I for one think is a very welcome development!Minecraft player in the woods - uncertainty in games helps learn