Laptops were provided for use to each participant, many of which had no prior experience with Minecraft or coding. Students sat at tables in groups of four and were able to connect and play together on a secure server. Looking around the room you could see custom built houses, forts, castles, and skyscrapers. The kids learned how to change the weather to make it rain, to build giant rainbows and how to summon lightning bolts with a bow and arrow.
The kids didn’t realize they were building on their creativity, collaboration and problem solving skills, they just knew they were having lots of fun.
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It doesn't seem like much time goes by before I find another cool thing that MIT has to offer the community. Last night, I stumbled across the MIT App Inventor, which is free open source software. It is designed to encourage all people, especially young people, to become creators of technology through the use of drag and drop programming. The website offers a Getting Started Guide, Tutorials, curriculum and teaching resources for teachers, and active community forums.
I watched the Ball Bounce Tutorial and created my first app! So, what are you waiting for? Why not get started today? Create something really cool and maybe you will be featured on the website's App of the Month!
This is a true love story where the love continues to grow stronger. The story goes back to the beginning of time, or at least my time. In the 1960s, down the halls of the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) campus there was a young woman that caught the fancy of a young man. My mother had been working as a secretary in the admissions office and my father also worked on campus. They fell in love and soon married and had two beautiful daughters.
Fast forward about 40 years to 2012, MIT came into our lives when my niece was accepted into their freshman class. This coincided with my oldest son reaching his middle school years. We learned about the SPARK program; this is where the love story really begins. SPARK is a program where middle school kids get to spend the weekend at the MIT campus taking classes on anything and everything. The kids that attend SPARK are made of the same cloth, they are excited to be there because they love being challenged and they love learning.
After MIT SPARK came MIT Junction, which is a summer program for select, advanced, self-driven high school students held on the MIT campus for two weeks. Students submit a proposal for an independent study project and those whom are selected are invited to the MIT campus to carry out their project with the support of a knowledgeable student mentor. The students are also able to take college-level hands-on seminars on a variety of topics. My son was lucky enough to be able to participate in this opportunity in 2015.
SCRATCH, is part of the curriculum in both my son’s schools, one in elementary and one in high school. It is a free programming language, developed at MIT, where students can build and share stories, games and animations. It can be used as an introduction to programming and logic and can be used at higher levels for more advanced projects.
When students are in high school, they are able to attend SPLASH, which is held the weekend before Thanksgiving on the MIT Campus. The program is two days of classes on just about everything. Students, not parents, pick the classes that interest them such as Parody Song Writing, Knitting, Cyberespionage, and Introduction to Ancient Greek. The vibe of the campus is almost electric where you can feel the energy and creativity. It is an incubator of ideas. Oh, if you have a friend, or cousin in our case, that attends MIT stay in the dorms for the full college experience.
There are many more reasons we love MIT, but those will be for another post….
Debbi - Proud mom of two beautiful boys and an IT Professional.