My 12 yr old son is obsessed with gaming, like many boys. I'd like to see his obsessions continue to mesh with learning. I know he's learned a lot about bartering, teamwork, using his computer, online safety and using game add-ons. His gaming is truly social and he prefers games where he can interact with a few good in-person friends, but online. I'd like to see him get more involved in actual game creation, possibly even things he can take on with his friends.
I've seen a few curriculum/programs for game programming, but am wondering if any others have used them. I want something that can be almost as addicting some of the games he plays. What about one that incorporates programming for Minecraft? Any advice?
He's used Scratch but hasn't gotten sucked into it.
Mine just took a SCRATCH class this summer and loved it. He also takes LEGO robotics classes and stop motion classes when they are offered. Scratch was online the other were in-person.
My kiddo is now taking a web design class online and is doing well.
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I don't know about curriculums in particular, but you might look at XNA. I know there are books about it, and I've heard about classes too.
The nice thing about XNA is that it will allow you to make games for XBox 360, in addition to Windows PC and Windows phone. This is the only way an amateur can legitimately release a game on a console. The XNA software itself is free. (If you want to put your game on the XBox 360, you have to pay for a membership, but you can get the game all ready to go before getting the membership. Putting the game on Windows computers is free. Not sure about the phones. You can make the same game functional on all three platforms.) It uses the C# programming language, so learning XNA will teach him a language he can use in other contexts too.
It's not drag-and-drop though. There's a few steps before you get to the point where a thing you can move around appears on the screen. Not sure if that will discourage him.
The XNA website seems to be messed up right now, but it has a nice tutorial that walks you through making a simple game.
are you specifically interested in gaming? I understand if that is where his interest lies, but if it is broader, there is a great program out there which is to teach C to kids. I can't remember what it is called (someone on here recommended it for me, can dig out the post) but my partner (computer science phd) really enjoyed using it with our then 8 year old. Actually you have reminded me-think they'd probably like to go back to it!
Khan Academy has a new "Computer Science" section that I highly recommend looking at- good instruction and VERY interactive- to get the basics of programming.
and DD2, 11/2004