Three or four months ago I got an email from a company called Youth Digital. Actually, I got an email from a person who works for Youth Digital and the fact that it had been written by someone who was clearly a human being was one of the reasons I read the message from beginning to end, rather than simply deleting it like I do when some weird cyborg-company offers to write posts for me based on the amazing synergies between my site (a blatantly narcisstic public diary) and theirs (say, an overseas non-site that promises to monetize online whosiwhatsits through awesome soft dragon power.)
Youth Digital is a company that offers online tech classes for kids and they were reaching out to mom bloggers (check) with a child between 8 and 14 years old (check) who enjoys Minecraft (shuh.) They offered Patrick the opportunity to take their Mod Design class for free and in exchange (it was implied - although it was never mentioned directly; I mean, it wasn't sordid) I would write about the experience.
I have never done this before. Does that qualify as a paid-content disclaimer warning? I hope so. They gave him a free class; I/we (because nothing in life is free, Patrick) am/are now sharing what we thought about the course.
So, funny thing, having agreed to prostitute my blog (for the sake of the child, you know. just like Fantine did for poor Cosette although frankly they both would have been better off on a farm somewhere, lying through their teeth about her parentage) you would think the guilt of it would have been weighing me down but it wasn't until this morning that I remembered I had this obligation at all. And he finished in MARCH.
Patrick asked me after breakfast if he could take another Youth Digital course (he is eyeing the 3-D modeling class) and I looked at him blankly for a moment before saying, "Oh damn it, we never wrote a review."
Then I told him to go write a couple of paragraphs about the Mod Design course and he pointed out that it was summer vacation; that he wanted to take a course not write about one; that his fingers were blistered from the exertion of the sixth grade party; that it is impossible to get anything written with the twins in the house.
I actually agree with the last one but, regardless, he is upstairs; presumably writing.
While we are waiting I will admit that I know very little about the course or the mechanics of taking the course and that is a good thing. It means Patrick was able to install the software, watch the course videos, follow the instructions, create whatever and get help entirely by himself. I do know that Patrick was very excited to share his work (in almost painful detail, actually) as he created his mod (his sushi was pretty terrific) and that he enjoyed the process so much that he (I swear this is true) set his alarm to go off an hour early on school days so he could have time to work on it.
So there you go, my testimonial in a nutshell: Patrick was so pleased with the Youth Digital class he took that rather than allow himself to be dragged face-first from his bed in the morning he woke up before I did in order to get some work done.
I wasn’t sure where to start with this and then my Mom asked me if I would personally spend the 250 dollars needed to have access to another Youth Digital online programming course. She meant, spend my own money and I’ll admit that it took some thought, but I eventually did say that yes, I would. It was certainly fulfilling the first time. I believe that if Mod Design 1 (the minecraft modding course I was taking, I’ll get to that later) was so nice and easy, the other ones should be pretty awesome too. I hope I’m right!
I found the Youth Digital software to be very easy to follow, funny, informative, and I was able to contact the company when I had any questions or needed help with the software. I did that a few times and they always got back to me right away. In Mod Design 1 there are about twelve progressively more challenging “Chapters” and in each one there are three or four videos about 15 minutes long each. The first chapter is about installing the software, and this is explained in great detail. The first step in creating a minecraft mod using this course is to pick a theme. I chose water. It’s simple, easy to work with, and can generate an endless stream of puns. Then you create items, tools, blocks, armor, ore, achievements, and even mobs all around your theme. After you have finished your mod, you send it to Youth Digital and they might feature it in a review. I was extremely happy with the feedback I received on my mod. And even after you are done with the class you can go off and explore java, adding to your mod all the while with projectiles, animated textures, lightning swords, and much more! They even helped me figure out how to build additional mods after I was done with the course.
I really liked this class and, like I said, I am willing to spend my own money to take another.
I hope this helps!
PS We are going to the farm for a week (a week! saints preserve me) where I will have nothing to do but vacuum up the spider webs and hose down the children. Cue the theme song from Green Acres and expect to hear much from me.