Another awesome day at art&&code 3d. It started with the workshop that brought Xander and I here in the first place - Teaching Kids Programming with Scratch & Kinect. Stephen Howell (@saorog), the presenter and developer of the code that enables Scratch & Kinect to interact, traveled all the way from Ireland for this conference. He started by sharing how important it is to get kids engaged with programming & CS concepts through tools like Scratch and he also shared about the trouble they are experiencing in Ireland with the downward trend of students choosing to study in this field, especially girls. It’s too bad the room was small, but the good news is that so many people were interested in this subject! The workshop definitely gave Xander & I the motivation we’ll need to start programming our own Kinect2Scratch creations when we get home (of course, Xander’s not waiting;-).
Another unique experience was the unconference. We had no idea what to expect and we found ourselves in the middle of some really interesting game design discussions about flow, casual vs. core gaming, metaphors and the things that make the Kinect gaming environment so unique: user-generated feedback, avateering (skeletal tracking), solve problems with my body (kinesthetic), audio capabilities (speech recognition, directional), depth data analysis & proprioception (knowing how your body occupies space).
Oh and Arnold Blinn from Microsoft gave Xander a copy of Gunstringer Kinect, so he’s set! And I got to meet Heather Kelley (@PerfectPlum), so we’re both set!
I have really enjoyed #artandcode. It is certainly unlike any other conference I’ve ever attended - in some really nice ways:
- Even though I’ve felt a bit out of place, not only as a mom dragging her son to a conference, but also as a women in computing who occupies a space of trying to engage the interest of middle school students in CS, I have felt welcome and my input valued.
- I loved experiencing the diversity that is art & code. These elements just seem to belong together, as their intersections obviously help push the boundaries of possibility.
- In every workshop I’ve attended, I’ve shared my passion about the need to get more girls interested in CS and I have received so much support and engagement on this issue here. It’s also been reaffirming to see so many confident, creative and brilliant women at this conference!