The Northern California Writing Project held two different Maker Day events this summer. The first had a Making with Technology focus. Lou Buran (@ljangler) led participants in thinking through the reasons why kids (and adults!) need to know how to code, and then we had the opportunity to put our ideas to work as we played with Mozilla’s Thimble website. If you haven’t seen it before, Thimble lets a user write html and css in a pane on the left side of a browser window, while the rendered text appears in a pane on the right side. Hints and troubleshooting are built-ins, helping users identify trouble spots.
We spent most of the day hacking away at html and css, figuring out how to do things with code to make our online texts look and behave the way we wanted. There were a few frustrated “arrghs,” but even more jubilant exclamations of “Yes!” It was a really fun, productive day. One of the biggest indicators of how engaged everyone was: even when the lunch of delicious Chipotle burritos arrived, I had to practically drag people away from their screens to eat!