Blacks, Hispanics and females are severely underrepresented in the computer programming fields. Blacks earn only five percent of the computer science degrees and Hispanics only earn only seven percent. But, the narrow path of computer science degrees starts long before the children reach their college dorms. And, while there is an abundance of junior high school and high school level programming enrichment courses, the cost places many of these programs out of the reach of most of the District’s youth.
In Summer of 2016 GABIDDC launched The Videogame Programming Institute as a pilot to introduce middle and high school students to the science of videogame programming. During the Summer of 2016, the Institute is teaching youths the fundamentals of a programming language, Python. This includes learning about objects, tuples, and lists; working with if- and while- type conditionals; working with loops and modules; and learning to debug. All of this is being done within the context of learning to produce simple video games such as Pong.
The Institute features classes of grouped learning teams so students can become familiar with cooperative learning. The 18-lesson coursework is taught over a six week period, thus, allowing the program to effectively be self-paced. The students are expected to conform to the Institute’s code of conduct, see below.
This pilot effort has two target outcomes: (1) to encourage participating students to become active learners of video game production; and (2) to expose students to pathways to develop the skills needed to become video game producers.. A second expected outcome is that most of our students build on the skills learned over the summer by continuing to develop video games during the 2016-17 school year.
Code of Conduct
The Videogame Institute is dedicated to providing a harassment-free video game learning and development experience for everyone, regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, physical appearance, disability, race, religion or employment. We understand that our dedication applies both in the classroom, in the coding lounge and at team game development meetings; it also applies in the Institute’s social media forums. We don’t tolerate harassment or bullying of students or team members in any form. All communication should be appropriate for a polite and civil audience, including people from many different backgrounds.
Any student who feels they were harassed or bullied should report such to the instructor and their parents.
Code for Instructors and Speakers:
- Sexual language or imagery is inappropriate for your talks or slides.
- Refrain from using sexist, racist or exclusionary language anywhere in your content.
- Students will be treated with respect due adults.
Code for Students and Team Members:
- Be kind and sensitive to the people around you and avoid any kind of offensive behavior.
- Sexist, racist or any other form of exclusionary or offensive jokes or excessive public swearing are not appropriate at any event, including off-site team meetings.
- Students violating these rules may be asked to leave the class;
- two such events will result in dismissal.
Thank you for your consideration and help in making the Videogame Institute a welcoming, friendly environment for all of us.