Codeacademy vs Minecraft vs Cricket

code

Today my boy Felix (age 14) got cracking on www.codecademy.com. He has been expressing an interesting in learning ‘code’ and finding out about the how the internet is made for some time, so I pointed him there. I’ve read so much good stuff about it, had a little play myself and liked what I saw and what’s more, it’s all free. It’s broken into several modules and it’s ALL hands on. Within the first 10 seconds of being on the site, you’ve written your first line of code. He spent a couple hours at it, and it warmed the cockles of my heart to see him ‘in the zone’.  I showed him a few licks and tricks – how it works in the real world of ‘front end markup code’ (albeit my slightly rusty view of it) and introduced him to tools like firebug and sublime text and the concept of saving a notepad file as index.html and opening that in a browser. He’s built his first webpage, by hand. So proud.

I’ve said – “see if you can chuck 6 hours at it over the next week instead of minecraft”. I expressed my feelings that if he could only spend a fraction of the time he spends on making stuff in games, on making stuff in the interwebs instead,  by the time he leaves school, he’ll be able to do all sorts of good stuff. Making stuff of your own (ie code) is better than making stuff for other people (ie Minecraft). Unfortunately, the knowledge acquired in Minecraft is not very transferable – the skills – maybe; complex logic puzzle solving, strategic thinking and algebraic operation perhaps,but not the knowledge. Unless you wanted to write a Minecraft book, make often highly profitable YouTube videos, or do Minecraft as a specialist subject on Mastermind… hang on a minute..  )

As well as the “seeing Felix get ‘in the zone'” highlight today, I was blessed me with another highlight;  I remember that I had a deckchair in the roof box of my car, so I got it out and sat in it for half an hour in the quiet back car park where I work, whilst listening to the cricket on the radio from the car. England gave South Africa a thorough drubbing, putting England through to the Champions Trophy final on Sunday. Happy days. Cricket is the real winner.

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