Most parents do not want their children playing too many video games or getting too much screen time.
But in many San Diego-area classrooms, that is exactly what is happening. Students are not playing the video games so much as they are designing them.
“To me, I don’t have a problem with you playing a video game as long as you design it,” said Tony Mauro, a coding teacher at Canyon Crest Academy (CCA).
Students at CCA, along with several other schools across the San Dieguito High School District, are learning to write a language that tells the computer what they want it to do.
The district is having a hard time keeping up with the demand for the elective class and will be expanding the number of classes offered for the 2015-2016 school year. This 2014-2015 school year was the first year the elective classes were offered in the district, school officials said.
On Monday, the students were learning to create their own video games: climbing, jumping and avoiding death.
Mauro said that many times, the students do not realize the extent of what they are learning.
“The concept of, say, learning an 'if' statement, it’s in every programing language you’ll learn,” Mauro said. “So learning that structure, learning how to methodically think through a problem and decompose it into smaller pieces, and then be able to assign instructions to that so that a piece of hardware can execute that, that’s all part of what we’re doing here. Now maybe they don’t know that, it’s kind of under the hood, but that’s what they’re learning.”
Freshman Miguel Nepomuceno, a freshman at the school, said the elective class has a positive reputation around his school.
“It’s an awesome class to be in,” Nepomuceno said. “You get to have a great time designing things, be with your friends and create the things you love to play the most.”