Learning seems to stick better when it is fun. Whether it be constructing your own Flappy bird clone using the same web technology as front-end engineers and game developers or choosing sides in a competitive hack battle to break into your opponent’s system before they hack yours, or writing the AI behind a bot to which you gave life to battle characters you have written code to automatically generate – fun introduces students to real skills with less intimidation and frustration.

Our unique lesson material includes pop-culture references to memes and stuff those who are 10-20 will general smile about. We do our best to keep this up to date and fun but also refer to ageless memes as well. Python, for example, got its name from Monty Python and so The Bridge Keeper has become a coding lesson and challenge.

Every class ends with 30 minutes of personal project time where students model a lot of the same behaviors they would on the playground playing or building things, just sitting next to each other in the classroom. This dynamic will never be something that can be recreated by purely online virtual education offerings, period. This gives the facilitators and assistants an opportunity to help anyone having trouble wrapping up and to review progress. It also allows students to practice what they have done in class on a project they care about of their own creation.

Playing hard has always been a part of education and building social skills, which coders sometimes struggle with. For three hours once or twice a month on Saturday nights from 6-9 we have Game Night, (which often doubles as a parents' night out). This gives everyone a chance to relax together and think about nothing more than having fun, sharing ideas, jokes, and interests, with snacks and pizza. Students can invite friends and previous students can catch up on all the changes. Some of our students have even proven to be rather astute connoisseurs of retro gaming consoles and bring them out, (which parents also enjoy). Being social is a big part of being a successful professional even if it does not come easily and these controlled tech parties are meant to help.

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