Teen Tech Bash 2
This weekend we hosted our 2nd Teen Tech Bash, kicking off on Friday night and ending 6 am on Saturday morning. The first one we hosted last month went off like a dream so I wasn’t surprised when this months started off with a few unexpected hitches, like volunteer instructors unable to make it at the last minute, set up incomplete due to the space being used for dress rehearsal until 9:30 and an influx of teens hoping to come that had not registered. That being said we pulled off a great event setting up around the dress rehearsal, telling hopefuls over the phone that they can come fill in the gap if there are no shows or sign up at the moment for March’s event, and running things a bit differntly in lieu of having less volunteer help.
The night started off with pizza, music and socializing and then moved into a fun icebreaker of catch and tell which ended in the boldest intros being awarded a game compliments of EA Sports who sponsored our giveaways for the night. We then broke into groups of mobile app design, game design and web design sections and opened with creativity lessons of reinventing a game. Board games and mobile games were introduced for the teens to hack and ideate with. This was to explore the idea of building, hacking, collaboration and creativity. There is no wrong answer and no wrong way to create, the idea is simply to create.
The cool thing for me was seeing that board games are timeless, there is a beauty to the tactile face to face competition that only a board game can create. The teens introduced some fun concepts to the board games and made them their own, changing the rules, the elements and more. They then took those ideas and went on to work on digital designs.
The Game Design group played around with Scratch, getting introduced to the elements and components of the software. Many of the young people came up with ideas for games and then created animations that demonstrated how the game would work. Several actually made working games.
We once again had problems with the internet working on the pc’s that we borrowed for some odd reason. App Inventor was our tool of choice for the mobile tract and was already loaded on the pc’s for ease of use. Fewer youth worked on mobile design tract due to issues with the connectivity. Although one of the youth pressed on and made a super cool pong game changing speed and designing elements for it as well.
One of the highlights of the night was really being able to demonstrate to the youth the power of the internet. I had reached out to the Norwegian designers of “the most downloaded free app regardless of category in the iTunes store and said to be more popular than youtube”, Fun Run. The lead designer Martin skyped in and spent a half hour answering questions and talking to the teens about his experience, designing Fun Run, and game design. He also shared with them a new patch as well as breaking news that a chat feature which would be released later that day and a link to it and his personal gamer tag. He didn’t share what Fun Run was worth but did answer the question that any of them can teach themselves to design a game and that their were plenty of open source tools to facilitate it.
Our web designers went hard designing pages with the theme of “I Like,” the idea was to create a page that shared people, places, music, etc that they like. Many different design layouts were created and we were able to teach them by using Mozilla’s Webmaker tools.
The beauty of learning in this environment was that you were not glued to a desk, there was no grade, the floor was open to learn from your neighbor and you were able to take a break when it just got to be to much.
Teen Tech Bash got Gangnam Style
Michelle Obama would have been proud, we didn’t sit on our behinds all night, the girls even dragged me in to “Move My Body”
The night was fun and moved along pretty quickly, this time I was sure to get the links and downloads of all projects created that the teens wanted to share.Check them out here. I dropped the ball last time and had them send it to me, lost out on many.
I also designed some cool tee’s for the Tech Bash to foster creativity and they are for sale (which helps support the program) as well. We had a great night with 30 young people who came out in grades 8-12th . You can check out more photos here
Many thanks to Fairway (fruit, snacks, juice) , Etsy (laptop loans), Irridiscent (laptop loans) EA Sports (game giveaways) and Greater Centennial AME Zion (space) and most importantly the beautiful people who came out to volunteer their time and pay their talent forward to the youth.
Registrations are now open for the March 22nd Teen Tech Bash here.