By Rachel Siford
Stony Brook University is hosting a different type of camp this summer.
kidOYO teaches kids between ages 8 and 15 how to code their own websites and games, using Java, Scratch, Python and HTML.
“Code. Make. Learn.” is kidOYO’s motto — geared to teach kids to code and create on their own.
“The kids learn how to map controls, sense the movements and think about it in a logical way,” co-founder Devon Loffreto said.
Loffreto, a graduate of SBU, and his wife Melora Loffreto founded the camp in 2001 and came to Stony Brook University three years ago because of its position as one of the top computer science schools.
“This area has a huge interest in computer science,” Melora said. “The support of the university has been tremendous.”
Some kids stay just one week, and others participate for the full five weeks. This week, 33 students entered the program along with 10 Stony Brook University computer science student mentors to help them.
Chairman of the Computer Science Department for 17 years Arie Kaufman welcomed the crowd to the newly built computer science building. This group was the first to have a demonstration there.
“I want to move Long Island to the point where everyone from ages 4 to 104 knows how to program,” Kaufman said. “This is a happy occasion for the new computer science building.”
For the first time since the camp was started, participants will be able to continue their websites and work at home. Their profiles will keep track of what they do with badges they get for different accomplishments. There are also challenges and tutorials on the website to keep them engaged.
Students made mods for Minecraft, a popular video game, meaning they wrote code modifications for the educational version of the game Minecraft. One student even made the mod downloadable so anyone can add his mod to his or her own game.
“This generation is one of the most powerful ever because of the tools they are given,” Loffreto said.
Another student built a script in Python, a general-purpose programming language, to draw a turtle, which took 370 lines of code.
Students made videos, comic strips, games, 3D printed objects and video games. For many of them, this was their first time using code.