Despite the bus being cancelled and the late hour, Luke Mayell and Dorine Flies from EPIK led a crowded talk on hacking MineCraft entitled Changing the World One Child at a Time—Minecraft with the NetBeans IDE [BOF2459].
Dorine started by explaining the rational for getting kids into hacking MineCraft in NetBeans. She explained how she was strongly influenced by her partner’s experiences in getting into code with his ZX80 in the 1980s and her daughters experiences with learning now. These days there is a danger that children are not getting the opportunities to create and make – and it is not just the technical skills that are missing but the social and personal skills that also follow (coders learn to keep going and not give up).
She also explained how MineCraft, being in Java provides a perfect chance to get the next generation into writing Java and using NetBeans. And they never forget their first passion… So we have a perfect opportunity with MineCraft to bring along the next generation of Java coders.
She told us about the MineCraft hacking session that EPIK organised on saturday and the excitement of both children and their parents sharing quality time together and having fun.
Luke then took over and took us on a step by step guide on how to hack MineCraft in NetBeans. We had exploding sheep and arrows! He also highlighted the EPIK blog, where people can download the NetBeans projects and explained why EPIK was using NetBeans (the children find it less ‘threatening’ with no red lines and classpath errors and easier to use).
Lastly Dorine talked with the audience about how we as a community could organise events to get kids into coding.
I have been to many talks at JavaOne over the years and this is the first one where I have seen all the people who sit typing on their laptops ‘semi-listening’ put away their machines so they could fully concentrate on the talk.
The files are all on the EPIK blog, and if you would like to organise a MineCraft event or create resources to encourage MineCraft hacking, they would love to engage with you.
If you want more information on JavaOne 2014 and further coverage of the entire event check out our JavaOne Series Index, which covers everything that is happening and is constantly updated, keep checking back for new info!