Virtual Worlds: Minecraft Club Promo Video!

Our Virtual World is now 6 months old! To celebrate we decided to create a short promotional video to showcase all the amazing and creative things our students have built. I am looking forward to what else we will achieve this year as the club has grown significantly since the start of the school year. If you are interested in the history of the Minecraft club you can see some of our previous blogposts.

Minecraft: Building Virtual Worlds – The Origin story of our Minecraft world!
Virtual Worlds: A Home away from Home – Building and Living in a Virtual World during COVID-19 Shutdown.
Virtual Worlds: The Great Wall Initiative – Securing the frontier, and the start of group adventures.
Virtual Worlds: Building a Community Village – How to build a community village and helping new players.

Enjoy the video!

Playing with Code

During the final weeks of Exploring Computer Technology we have been learning about, and learning to, code. Specifically we have been using a programming language called Python to write programs, starting with very basic and moving to more complex programs.

There is a beauty to the code, as it is with any language. Students have learned how to write, and troubleshoot, their own code. They have developed a unique style for their code, and as it can be seen there are many different solutions to the same problem, demonstrating that programming in Python, as well as other languages, can be a creative process.

They were tasked with such projects as pretending they were a game developer who is tasked with creating a magical ring that grants a wish, as well as more mundane programs such as a calculator that asks for shapes and calculation types and runs the calculations for a 3D object returning values such as surface area and volume of simple solids.

Some students have had the desire to go beyond the classroom and use functions to write a simple “rock, paper, scissors” game, with a twist! Creating an actual game program, all using free, open source, resources that they can continue to use after class is over.

Having fun With Digital Art and Music in Commtech

 

During these unusual times it’s necessary to take a step back and do something fun. In the communications technology course we took some time creating fun album covers for made-up bands. This involved using open source software, giving students the ability to continue to do photo editing outside of a traditional classroom setting. It also introduced the concept of alternatives to big name software and problem solving using technologies similar, but not identical to, programs such as Photoshop.

After the album covers were created, students got a chance to experiment with making sound files to attempt to mimic music that would be found on a music album with the cover they had created.

Academy partners with Digital Literacy + Coding pilot!

The YMCA Academy has always leveraged computer technology in the service of student learning. Laptop-based assistive technologies are at the heart of the supports we provide to a wide range of learning styles. Thus, when we had an opportunity to partner with the Brookfield Institute in their “Digital Literacy + Coding” pilot project“, we jumped at the chance.

The Academy has committed to running eight 12-week sessions to introduce youth in the GTA to the logic and practice of coding. We see this pilot as providing our students with additional expertise and knowledge that will be hugely important in the job markets they will face when they graduate. These sessions are free of charge, and laptops are provided.

By introducing Digital Literacy + Coding to a wide variety of youth, including youth who are underrepresented in this growing field, The Academy hopes to help shape the future.

The program will introduce youth to a variety of activities leading to a final project that each participant has chosen. They will be “remixing” websites, games, and other web-based applications to get a better understanding of how they work, and how elements of the code affect the final product.

The Digital Literacy + Coding pilot will focus on several languages, particularly HTML, CSS, and a brief introduction to JavaScript. These are the languages that are the backbone to complex and engaging web pages. This program is an excellent way to help youth begin the journey of sparking passion for STEM-related fields by learning the basics of the coding languages of the web.

 

Digital and Smartphone Photography Workshop

On October 24th, the Grade 11 Media Arts class and the Grade 10 Communications Technology classes participated in a Digital and Smartphone Photography workshop at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Students were taken on a tour of several galleries and instructed on how to use their cell phones to take pictures. We spent the afternoon browsing a variety of galleries. The first photographs we saw were done by artists who were competing in the AIMIA|AGO Photography Prize. There were four photographers in this gallery, all from different countries around the world: Russia/Ghana, Haida/Canada, Japan and Uganda. We were shown all of their different styles of photography and then were able to cast our vote in the end! Each was very interesting in their own way and the students seemed very inspired by the very different types of photography by each artist.

Next we went on to see a gallery called Every.Now.Then: Reframing Nationhood. This gallery focused on artist’s depictions of Canada from the perspective of those that have been left out of the dominant narrative. In addition to photography, there was painting, sculpture, fashion, video art and more in this gallery. Students used this gallery, and the photographs in the AIMIA Prize gallery, to practice their photography skills. As they took photos of the art, they were encouraged to focus on using the Rule of Thirds and different angles to photograph the works of art.

The tour ended with analyzing some famous European works of art, such as Massacre of the Innocents by Peter Paul Rubens, and understanding the techniques and tools that the artist’s used. Students also put their critical analysis skills to good use by interpreting the message of the painting.

Overall it was a great experience touring the AGO and the student’s left feeling inspired!

Check out more photos from this event on our Facebook page!