New Year – New efforts

Hope IT – New Year, New efforts

4th and 5th graders at Stars creating their Roblox games

Happy New Year!! Hope IT has welcomed the new year, starting quickly and has many plans for the rest of this school year.  Also, this is the 7th year for Hope IT. We thank God.

Hope IT has started a 6 week Roblox game creation course with 10 students at Star’s after-school program.  Here are the highlights:

  • 4th and 5th grades on Thursday afternoons are learning how to create games in Roblox (see the picture above).
  • Students are learning the key concepts of Building and Scripting in Roblox Studio (see a screen shot below of the tool the students are using.)
  • Roblox uses the Lua programming language, which is somewhat like Python.  This introduces students to computer aided design and script language programming to automate the game objects.
  • There is so much excitement, that the 2nd and 3rd graders are wondering when their turn will be.  (We are still evaluating what is the youngest reasonable age for a class.)
  • Truth be told: it requires effort, and stretching oneself to take in the new concepts and skills.  It can also be frustrating. This is especially so because of the school time lost because of the covid epidemic.  Students are much less accustomed to classroom behavior.
  • This is the most students Hope IT has ever had in a course.
  • Even us instructors are challenged to keep the 10 students moving forward, and remain encouraged and positive.  We are learning a lot as well, especially in the proper framing of the material. We are also learning about classroom discipline, with the help from Stars staff, who have had training in teaching, child development, and counseling.
  • Roblox is a great transitional play and work space to allow young kids to use their current enjoyment and knowledge (playing games), and learn computer aided design (CAD) and programming concepts that can help them in the future.

Coming up quickly, Hope IT will start our WordPress website creation course in February.  Here are the key points.

  • WordPress is a good skill to learn, as more than 30% of all websites use WordPress.  There are actual jobs looking for people with WordPress experience.
  • WordPress does not require programming.  Kids can definitely learn this skill.
  • The main concepts in WordPress are Themes and Plugins.  There are so many of those, students will learn how to share information (text, pictures and videos), sell products, optimize web pages for Internet searches (SEO), and see the traffic of guests to your website, and more.
  • A paid internship for one student follows this course.  Hope IT will look to have one of our students apply and interview for this internship.  Our partner Bridges is looking for one student to help with their website work in WordPress.  This is a skill in demand with a large market.

God is creative, and brings a spirit of newness.  We are looking forward to how this new year progresses.  God bless.

–Mike Veerman
Hope IT team lead

Sample Roblox obstacle game created in the Hope IT course