[OLPC-Games] High School Programming "Jam"

Clare Richardson clare at girlstart.org
Mon Apr 16 17:05:08 EDT 2007

Hello all,

I'm coordinating an after-school program for high school girls in
Austin, TX, to get them interested in technical careers and improve
their computer/programming literacy.  Next year, our curriculum will
focus around creating "serious", educational games on a topic of their
choice.  These girls are very motivated by global issues, so I thought
it would be perfect for OLPC.  For example this year, they picked topics
ranging from alternative fuel sources to AIDS awareness to create a
public service announcement about.

I'd love for our curriculum to have an OLPC Games component so the girls
see a purpose to the project, or at least have them create games in an
environment compatible with the laptop.  I'm viewing this as a year-long
"Game Jam", since we'll produce 15 - 30 simple games.  But, I have a few
questions about feasibility and would love your advice:

-- What's the best game programming environment for novices?  Python
with PyGame?  Most of these girls have no programming background, and
we're using this project to teach programming basics.

-- Is there any existing OLPC curriculum similar to what we're doing
(teaching novice programming through creating games)?  I believe part of
the vision for the laptop is that children can create their own games.

-- Does anybody have experience with game creation on the high school
level (especially for "serious games")?  I've seen lots of courses on
the university level, but we're looking for something younger.

-- I've read on the wiki that an SoC student might be working on an Easy
Game Toolkit. When could this be workable for us? We're starting our
semester in late August / early September. I'm developing our curriculum
this summer, so when could I start playing with it?

Clare Richardson
Technology and Program Coordinator

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