Let me be clear that we’re not talking about an app you make with Game Salad or some other kit where you are basically shooting things and dropping things. First of all, it needed to align with state standards – that is, the specific skills and concepts that students are supposed to know at a particular grade. Second, we needed to save the data so that we knew how kids were doing, could track that and report back to their teachers and school administration. Third, it had to be fun to play. Fourth, it had to provide instruction to students, so that if they gave the wrong answers, they were routed to APPROPRIATE instruction. Fifth, since the schools were on American Indian reservations, the game had to include the students’ language and culture – which meant things like embedded sound files, accurate renditions of Native American legends and history.
All of those five parts were important.
In August, we did a demo of a really rough draft of our game. The beta version was installed in October and had improved so much that our site coordinator on the reservation said,
“Wow! This is great! Now when I tell people how good our game is, I won’t be lying.”
“No, I’m just kidding. I knew you could do it.”
Version 1.1 shipped out on Thursday. I have made massive progress on the version 2.0 which will be available by the end of November. After all of these days working from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m., I think I should have some profound advice. I will offer this – don’t give up. If you find that “everybody is learning to code with Codecademy” and it just is not doing it for you, the pace is too slow, you don’t give a rat’s ass about making a taxi fare calculator, whatever – then do it a different way. Just about every day, I have to FORCE myself to get up from the computer and go buy groceries, get some exercise, change the guinea pigs’ cage.
I have five meetings scheduled in the next two weeks, two proposals for development funds due in the next four months and a Kickstarter video to finish. My fondest wish is for someone else to take it all over so I can code. Realistically, some of it I cannot delegate to anyone else, and we do have the right person coming on in two months to pick up some of the slack.
So, how has my year of code come out? Pretty phenomenal, I’d say.