I was given this book and a three month free subscription to the site for my review. These are all my own opinions. I was not paid for this review. The book showed up and my kids were jumping all over. MUCH excitement. Explosive decibel levels. The book is smaller than a normal “dummies” book – which I tend to dislike just as a gut response to the name alone. How about … “Wanna learn more?” Anything would be better. Another day, another blog post.
He is computer savvy. We use codeacademy.org all year as our coding for homeschooling. JJ is 8. “MOM! I’m stuck!” Sigh. End of the dream of my beckoning book and THM chai latte. OK. Let’s see. 1. You can’t go in through Google Chrome. 2. You have to own or BUY Minecraft from Steam. $30. Ouch! 3. Unity – we had to download that three times. 4. Plus: the site is easy to navigate and there is an AMAZING customer support staff ready to help you via email… although you are online with LearntoMod.com. I periodically stopped and waited for help.
Two hours. All done. Running. JJ was able to complete badges one to three. After that, he couldn’t go on. He read the book. He tried to follow and apply it to the program. He quit. He never quits unless he feels unsuccessful for an extended period of time. Enter LB (11). She has been block modding and using beginning Java. She made it through one badge. We had a hard time using the simulator and often had to pick the other option. She found the “control M” command frustrating. It was hard to read the words on the Minecraft screen. She was frustrated and went to work on her Roominate. If we had been on a large monitor, it would have been better. This is not the best for laptop work. You need a larger screen and high resolution.
Stop and guage: I loved that the program, challenges, and projects were so well thought out. For example, if you were a coder, you would not always type in the pretty code or pull the blocks. You would have a problem and have to see the application and work backwards to solve the coding issue. “Scrambled Code” and the fix the problem projects were great. Homeschoolers DO NOT want to be spoon fed – no learners do – and in a real-time/life coding experience you will need to problem-solve. This addresses this! The videos were short, but helpful.
In walks KB. 13. I thought – ahhh… she can write this review for me! Nope. Within minutes we were stuck on a project. I couldn’t get into my email to see how customer service suggested that I fix it. At least they kept trying. 😉 She was out after four hours and reading/annotating the book. She took notes. Watched the videos several times. They were informative – but there was no venue in them for if this happens, do this. That might be asking too much.
Final review: If you have a solid programming background and time to sit with your kids one-on-one to work on this. It is perfect. If you have a kid SO in love with Minecraft and coding to work independently through this, perfect. If you have a high schooler just dying to code. They can pick between Java and block modding. Perfect. Honestly and sadly, I was going to buy Learn to Mod for my kids for the year as their computer science. The “kicker” was the spam and malware that I found on my computer after using this. 289 malware hits. Some were rather serious. I had two trojans. SO: I think we will stick with free – www.codeacademy.com & Khan Academy’s program. Put your kids into their system – make a classroom – and they can work through it. It also gives tutorials and gauges where they are and realign their placement.
Again, these are my thoughts and reactions to the product. My kids were sad, but they were so frustrated they went off to do other things that engaged them in active coding. Research shows that by 2020 there will be a shortage of 2 billion computer skills jobs. I want my kids to be a part of that – to at least have the schema and training – and then go into the field they are drawn to – think football player – it will be there fall back. For more info on this go to Thomas Jefferson Education.com. We are thinking computer coding AA’s and into college from there. Thine Will be done!