By Allison Caravella ’17
At the end of my freshman year at Brewster, I was faced with the decision of which elective to take. I always try to push myself out of my comfort zone and try something new. As a ninth grader, I chose computer graphics, which introduced me to Photoshop and Final Cut Pro: two powerful (and very useful) programs that were alien to me. At the end of the class I had learned some great new skills that I’ve actually used for many school projects. So there I was, sitting at my computer and debating. One option that I kept coming back to was an introduction to computer programming. It was something completely new. At that time, I didn’t really know what I was in for, and as I would be part of the first modern computer programming class here at Brewster, there wasn’t anyone to give a recommendation.
The skills that I learned through Codecademy allowed me to complete the various course projects. On one occasion, we were assigned to take Jeopardy questions from an online database and create a spreadsheet with them. With the program TextWrangler, we used what we had learned from Codecademy and separated the information into air date, category of question, answer, and point amount. The conclusion of that project was one of the biggest senses of accomplishments that I had during my sophomore year.
As for the spring trimester, things took a bit of a turn. Instead of focusing solely on Codecademy and our Moodle projects, the class learned about a program called GameSalad, which allows users to put together parts and make their own game. When downloaded, GameSalad takes you through a tutorial to create a battleship game. Using the graphics provided, you could choose the appearance of everything in your game. Every background, every character, and even things like the lasers that were shot during the game are called actors. In order to make things happen in GameSalad, you would have to assign positions, actions, and consequences to every actor in the game. In the end, I learned just how time-consuming it is to put together a game, and I had most of the components provided for me! I ended up creating a question game in order to review for my AP U.S. History exam.
I’ve learned so much about programming, even though I’ve barely scratched the surface. There’s so much to learn, and so many practical uses. I think it was a valuable experience, and one that many high schoolers don’t get to have. In the future, I would love to have a chance to learn more, and I look forward to passing on my experience to other students.