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Learn to Mod: New Programming Elective for 7th & 8th Graders

New SAA Programming Elective

Drawing from the popularity of video games, a new elective for 7th & 8th graders teaches students JavaScript programming through “modding,” or modifying Minecraft. Minecraft is a “sandbox” game, which allows players to choose different modes of play, and provides an ever- changing environment for the user to contend with. In the game, students can build, fight monsters and construct complex machines using an in-game power resource called redstone.

During the class, boys learn to code in JavaScript using an online self-directed program called “Learn to Mod.” Video tutorials help guide them through the step-by-step instructions to code their mods. Students can also login to a Minecraft server to test their coding. Because the program is entirely online, students also have the opportunity to complete lessons at home as well as at school.

coding mod example 

A fan of Minecraft, eighth grader Ethan Fish was automatically drawn into the JavaScript program even though he had “never really got into programming until now, but [he] would like to pursue a programming career in some form.” This elective, he says “could help shape my future dream job.” And while the Minecraft component wasn’t the draw for seventh grader Ben Weis, he “loves every bit of the elective because he always wanted to know how people coded mods.”

“At the end of the semester, boys will have the opportunity to apply for college prep computer science credit through the University of San Diego by paying a fee and passing a final exam,” says program instructor, Linda Gielen. The Learn to Mod course typically costs $30 per student, but as a school, San Antonio Academy offers the course free to its students. 

Resources: 
Website: http://www.learntomod.com/ 
Learn to Mod FAQs: http://www.learntomod.com/faq 
Info Video: https://vimeo.com/101664559