Students re-create Flappy Bird in programming workshop

Kendra Harvey and Kristina Cary

Students sat behind their desktop computers and laptops yesterday, copying sections of multicolored code into their on-screen programs, and with a single click of their mouse, they watched as a little yellow bird on a simulated iPhone in the right-hand corner of their screen took flight.
Students created their own adaptations of the popular app Flappy Bird during two hourlong sessions of MakeGamesWith.Us’ computer programming workshop. The sessions, directed by iOS developer Benjamin Encz and assisted by game producer Ben Madison, drew on students’ past knowledge of skills from their computer programming classes.
“It shows the students that the background they receive in computer programming can lead to an understanding of a high-level solution,” computer programming teacher Doug Grant said. “It’s not that they learned something they didn’t know before, it’s that they saw what they learned can easily be applied to an area that interests them.”
The students followed an online tutorial on MakeGamesWith.Us’ website that provided step-by-step instructions and completed sections of code that students used to run their programs.
“I thought it was really straightforward and easy to understand because they had all the code written for you already,” freshman Katie Newbold said.
As students completed each step, Encz described the concepts behind each section of code.
“The place where people usually drop off is when they have difficulties getting the first steps done because setting something up is too complicated, or they can’t follow,” Encz said. Adding to the programming workshop, “It’s just a good way to get more people excited about computer science in general.”
Students’ programs were written in the programming language Objective-C, typically used for gaming software, according to Encz.
“All programming languages differ in their syntax,” Grant said. “But they all use the same concepts. It doesn’t matter what language you learn; what matters is that you learn the concepts.”
Women are often considered to be a minority in computer programming. Encz says it is important to incorporate the viewpoints of both men and women to achieve the most success possible.
“I think it’s important for everybody to be learning computer programming because soon computers will be taking over the majority of our lives,” Gaby Messino, who is taking AP Computer Science, said.
“Computers is one of my favorite classes at Convent so I’m really glad that I got the opportunity to take something like this,” Newbold said.
iOS developer Benjamin Encz explains the process for creating a code for an iPhone game.

iOS developer Benjamin Encz explains the process for creating a code for an iPhone game.

Kristina Cary
and Kendra Harvey

Students sat behind their desktop computers and laptops yesterday, copying sections of multicolored code into their on-screen programs, and with a single click of their mouse, they watched as a little yellow bird on a simulated iPhone in the right-hand corner of their screen took flight.

Students created their own adaptations of the popular app Flappy Bird during two hourlong sessions of MakeGamesWith.Us’ computer programming workshop. The sessions, directed by iOS developer Benjamin Encz and assisted by game producer Ben Madison, drew on students’ past knowledge of skills from their computer programming classes.

“It shows the students that the background they receive in computer programming can lead to an understanding of a high-level solution,” computer programming teacher Doug Grant said. “It’s not that they learned something they didn’t know before, it’s that they saw what they learned can easily be applied to an area that interests them.”

The students followed an online tutorial on MakeGamesWith.Us’ website that provided step-by-step instructions and completed sections of code that students used to run their programs.

“I thought it was really straightforward and easy to understand because they had all the code written for you already,” freshman Katie Newbold said.

As students completed each step, Encz described the concepts behind each section of code.

“The place where people usually drop off is when they have difficulties getting the first steps done because setting something up is too complicated, or they can’t follow,” Encz said. Adding to the programming workshop, “It’s just a good way to get more people excited about computer science in general.”

Students’ programs were written in the programming language Objective-C, typically used for gaming software, according to Encz.

“All programming languages differ in their syntax,” Grant said. “But they all use the same concepts. It doesn’t matter what language you learn; what matters is that you learn the concepts.”

Women are often considered to be a minority in computer programming. Encz says it is important to incorporate the viewpoints of both men and women to achieve the most success possible.

“I think it’s important for everybody to be learning computer programming because soon computers will be taking over the majority of our lives,” Gaby Messino, who is taking AP Computer Science, said.

“Computers is one of my favorite classes at Convent so I’m really glad that I got the opportunity to take something like this,” Newbold said.

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