On October 20-21, 2018, Oracle and Oracle Academy welcomed 400 students to Oracle Code 4 Kids, a fun hands-on programming event to inspire the next generation of developers and provide students ages 10-16 with the opportunity to learn and practice coding, robotics projects and more. The event was held at Oracle headquarters, Redwood Shores, California, prior to Oracle OpenWorld and Oracle CodeOne.
Event keynote speakers included Eric Brown, director of The Alice Project, Carnegie Mellon University, and Dr. Ayodele Thomas, director, Greene Scholars Program, an Oracle Diversity and Inclusion partner.
“The energy and enthusiasm of the kids at the event was incredible,” said Brown. “The most inspiring part of the experience for me was the diversity of the attendees. It was truly an inclusive event that promoted the beauty of technology to excite everyone to learn.”
The event was sponsored by Oracle Academy. To increase diversity in computing and bring technology opportunities to students who may be disadvantaged, free registration codes were provided to almost half of the attendees, and all paid registration proceeds were donated to SBE and the Greene Scholars Program.
Michelle Kovac, director, Oracle Java Marketing and Operations, planned the event. Special thanks to Tyra Crockett, senior manager, Oracle Academy North America, for all her work on the program.
“This event was a great example of Oracle’s commitment to the developer community, both current and future developers and innovators like these kids,” said Stephen Chin, director, Developer Marketing, Oracle Groundbreakers Team, and Oracle Code content chair. “This event had great community support and 20 different sessions to appeal to kids of various interests. We’re grateful to educators and parents who continue to encourage kids in developing the tech innovations of the future.”
“It was super exciting to see so many kids attend and really get into computer science and programming,” said Crockett. “We’re happy so many of the kids’ teachers and parents support applied computing experience. The sessions were so fun and let the kids get hands-on practice and really see what they could do with just a little instruction—like animate robots, build games, or create circuits. The Finch Robot flash mob dance was one of my favorite parts!”
Watch the event video to view some of the exciting projects students worked on.
Workshops Covered a Range of Computing Topics
Oracle Code 4 Kids offered 14 engaging workshops on the following topics:
Alice—An innovative object-oriented programming environment that makes it easy to create animations, build interactive narratives, or program simple games in 3D, Alice is designed to teach logical and computational thinking skills and fundamental principles of programming.
ChucK, My Friend for Programming Music—A programming language for real-time sound synthesis and music creation, ChucK offers a unique time-based, concurrent programming model that's precise and expressive; dynamic control rates; and the ability to add and modify code on the fly. This session provided the opportunity to develop a program to create simple compositions in real time, using the basic concepts of programming.
Fun with Python Programming and Introduction to Python—Students learned how to write simple and fun programs, input/output statements, and logical conditional statements, and built simple GUI Python games and apps. Students used critical thinking to solve real-world problems, tackling control structures, syntax rules, library accessing, and more.
Play Soccer with Lego Mindstorms—These programmable bricks from Lego can be combined with electric motors, transmitters, ultrasonic sensors, and ultraviolet color and light as well as pulleys (such as gears, axles, beams, and hydraulic components) to build robots and other automated or interactive systems. In this fun, creative workshop, students built Lego Mindstorm robots that played soccer, with a match between two teams.
Programming the Finch Robot in Greenfoot—In this Oracle Academy interactive session, students learned how to program a small Finch robot using Java in the Greenfoot environment. Each kid had their own robot and created an interface to control its functions, including directional control, light and proximity sensors, sounds, colors, and accelerometers. The session ended with a robot flashmob dance!
Space Exploration with Scratch—An interactive and creative exploration of space and computer science with the MIT Scratch language, this session wove together computing and the basics of space technology, teaching students to write programs to solve basic problems using Scratch. The instructor was a former rocket scientist.
Squishy Circuits—This hands-on lesson covered the basics of electronics, using Play-Doh to create connections. Participants learned about the difference between conductors and insulators, basic parts for building a circuit, and the path of electricity.
Coding and Concepts with Java Puzzle Ball—Users of popular languages such as Java, C++, C#, and Python can do object-oriented programming, a staple of computer science education but also is a new way of thinking that can be difficult for learners. The Oracle Java Puzzle Ball builds learners’ understanding of key programming concepts: class design, static versus instance variables, inheritance, and lambda expressions.
Introduction to Arduino—In this session, participants were introduced to the Arduino platform, learning what an Arduino development board is, parts that correlate with it, the basics of programming in Arduino C, and practicing projects to become familiar with the interface and electronics.
Java Programming for Beginners Using BlueJ—BlueJ, a simple Java platform, lets users implement object-oriented programming concepts, offering visualization and the ability to create objects and interact with them. The session offered applied computer science concepts blended with simple, fun problems to solve so participants easily could start programming in Java.
Oracle Academy Arcade—This arcade let kids explore their workshop of choice: Programming an arcade game in Greenfoot, programming the Finch Robot in Greenfoot, or solving a series of crimes using a SQL database.
Building and Programming a Robot with Scratch—In this session, participants built an mBot programmable robot and directed it with Scratch to flash lights, play sounds, and move.
Game Development with George—Participants learned the basic programming concepts of George such as functions and recursion and applied them to geometry, game design, and math.
Gotta Catch 'Em All! Raspberry Pi and Java Pokemon Training—The Pokemon escaped the laboratory and were running amuck! Using a miniature Raspberry Pi computer, a 3D-printed pokeball, and the Java programming language, students were able to catch all the escaped Pokemon and return them to the professor.
Python with the Warriors—Using Golden State Warriors themed interactive programs, students used Python to create variables, use the Python console, and write fun scoring games, using if, else, and while conditional statements.
Be a DJ with Code—Sam Aaron, professional DJ and live coding expert, came from the UK to teach kids how to turn code into music using the Sonic Pi software. Aaron showed students how to write and modify simple routines to generate fun and interesting music as computer DJs.
Playing Programming with Kids and a Robot—A robot is a great tool for showing what programming can do. This session shared the speaker's experience of doing several different projects with kids of different ages using a BB-8 robot to inspire participants to start to program.
Oracle plans to host Oracle Code 4 Kids next year on September 14-15, 2019.
Attend an Alice Workshop
If you’re a K-12 educator in North America interested in offering Alice to your students, register for our upcoming one-hour webcast with Eric Brown on January 9, 4 p.m. PST, Get Your Students Started in Programming Using Alice. The webcast will cover:
1) A live demo of Alice world
2) Fun ways to use Alice to get your students started in programming
3) Free Oracle Academy resources using Alice