Written by: Justin Chormicle, Photos by Justin Chormicle
With TriV’s first Scratch Hackathon just around the corner, youth members are in a frenzy to brush up on their Scratch skills in order to prepare for the upcoming competition. This was the third practice session that TriV has held in preparation for the Hackathon. With only one practice session remaining, the pressure is on to learn more complex Scratch functions, collaborate with teammates, and prep for a successful presentation.
Last week’s practice session at Oracle not only provided the opportunity to develop entertaining Frogger games, it also gave participants the advantage of extra programming experience and the opportunity to work alongside mentors in a fun and supportive environment. And Jamba Juice gift cards, candy, and a raffle were all a great way to end the night!
But beyond the usual fun and excitement that can be expected at typical TriV CoderDojo event, the Scratch Hackathon practice sessions are centered around bolstering our youth members. The real intentions behind the hackathon and the preceding practice sessions are to teach new concepts while encouraging participants to excel to an even greater level of coding. The hackathon is a demanding, yet rewarding way to provide a new set of challenges that require youth members to think with a more abstract and technical mindset when utilizing their coding abilities. Throughout the prior Scratch practice sessions, mentors, parents, and even the kids themselves have all seen dramatic improvements in the amount of coding capabilities and competency.
Over the past couple of months, Raj and Satvik, two of TriV’s dedicated mentors, have seen remarkable improvements from many of the younger member that they have been coaching and working alongside with. Both agree that the Scratch practice session have greatly improved the ability of their mentees to work and collaborate together. They’ve seen the younger generation of TriV coders become much more natural at communicating and problem solving, along with many other characteristics that are essential for working in teams and groups.
Perhaps even more important, Raj and Satvik have also noticed that the younger members are becoming more independent and confident with their coding and programming abilities. Satvik mentioned that many of the kids that he has been mentoring have become more self-sufficient and no longer need as much guidance as they did before. Throughout the Scratch Hackathon process, many of the kids have moved from a beginner stage to an intermediate level of coding.
From the perspective of two coders that are planning on participating in the hackathon, Samyak and Abhinav say they couldn’t be any more excited. During the practice session at Oracle, the two were more than happy to showcase a game that they had spent the night developing. Both agree that the Scratch sessions have helped them get better at learning all the functions and various aspects of Scratch. And if you’re wondering what you might expect to see from these two in the hackathon, they both mentioned that they “enjoy making games that get points”.
As well, many parents were more than willing to commend and share their feedback on the entire Scratch Hackathon process. With an endless amount of support for the hackathon, many parents are thrilled to see their kids energized and determined to learn and practice as much as possible. Many of the parents that attended the Oracle session are happy to see that TriV is putting a special emphasis on teaching and promoting Scratch, an introductory programming language that is visual and engaging enough to keep their kids interested and having fun. But, knowing that Scratch is just the beginning of their kids’ journey and development into the world of computer science, most are even more elated to see how the Scratch Hackathon will pave the way for their children’s futures and long-term growth.
So far, the hackathon and practice session have proven to be beneficial. Self-evaluations have been implemented to help each youth member determine where he or she can improve. TriV, with the help of mentors, is working to overcome any obstacles that the youth members may have, and is striving to teach new concepts and strengthen new skillsets. With Scratch and its activities focused on user-interaction, we’ve seen many members produce some impressive projects and expect to see many great accomplishments during the hackathon.
There is only one more practice session before the Scratch Hackathon. Hackathon participants must be club members and attendance at a minimum of one practice session is required. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.