Xcelerate 2016: Week 2

As I write this post, my second week with the Xcelerate summer camps at Waubonsee Community College for 2016, has come to an end. I must say, it was an exhausting week.

I’ve said this a few times, but I’ve been working these camps for several years now, and this week was the first time I really experienced something different. In all the previous years, I had helped with the Lights, Camera, Action! camp, and that was all. There were times when I was asked if I was interested in helping out with other classes, but for a variety of reasons, I always had to decline. For one, I didn’t think I could really help in other classes where I didn’t know much about the topic being taught. Also, I was working another part time job, so my availability was limited.

This year, after being assured that my lack of knowledge wouldn’t be too much of a problem, I agreed to help out with some other classes. This particular week, I jumped into a computer programming class for ages 11-14.

I must say, while I have been assured that my lack of knowledge isn’t a problem, I definitely felt hindered by it. I was told that I would pick up on the topic as I went through the week, and it was a class for kids so it wouldn’t be too difficult to follow. That is true. I did start to pick up on the topic that was being taught in the class, but I didn’t feel that was good enough.

Since I didn’t know the topic beforehand, it was hard to answer questions when they came up. I had to be up front with the kids at the beginning of the week that I was learning what they were learning at the exact same time. If anything, I sort of just talked them through what they were doing until they figured out the answer to their question themselves. That’s ultimately not a bad thing, but I wish I could have done more.

Throughout the week, I did pick up on some coding in Python, a program I had never heard of before this point. Since I know a bit of HTML, it wasn’t too hard to read the programming language, but the concepts were a little difficult to grasp, especially when it got really heavy into the logical aspects.

Next week, I’m doing another class that I have no knowledge about. It has something to do with Minecraft, which I’ve only vaguely heard of. I’m not exactly sure what the class will be teaching, but at least if there’s code involved, I’ll know something about that!

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