As this is the first Hackathon for all of us, we had a lot of planning to do. We are proud to have quickly determined the roles in our team and split up tasks efficiently. Having only 6 hours of actual work time, we still produced a video and designed code. We learned that putting 4 minds together, despite not having experience still led to innovative ideas.
One of the problems we faced was tackling the theme of this hackathon. The terms were open to many aspects of interpretation. Diversity was open to interpretation; diversity in choices, or, diversity in people? As such, we had to come to an agreement that we wanted to focus on diversity in people because we know individuals who have felt neglected by the technology industry. We determined that diversity of paths within a finite playing field fits the definition of diversity and is analogous to life itself. In addition, our lack of experience was a major setback. However, we consulted a very experienced mentor who directed us to a efficient way of approaching our project. In the end, we decided not to code and use advanced techniques in powerpoint to mimic an actual completed app to present our ideas.
Today we are connected to and by technology but a shocking 80% of people in tech are male. While the enthusiasm of men in these fields is well received, university students surveyed today expressed the need for women to have an equal opportunity as well. Warriors of Code is an empowering, encouraging, and easy way of getting young adults started with coding. Our goal is to help people realize their path in technology and increase diversity in the field.
The game Warriors if code encourages diversity by awarding points to the player whose path is most different from the other player, therefore their paths can be described as diverse. It also encourages going around the wall that your opponent builds, thereby teaching perseverance. The game we designed will address problems in a multitude of ways. We first lower entry barrier by using a block-based language for the game. At the beginning of the game, each player will write a set of strategies using a block-based language with essential components of any computer language, such as if statements and while loops as well as some pre-written behaviors such as run. By using a block based language, though taking away much freedom, players can firmly grasp, from playing the games, the structure and syntax of what a program is like. This lowers the barrier for entry, as using a block-based language avoids many of the syntactic mistakes new students make when first writing code. The rate of drop-out in learning is high in similar platforms. To address this, we’ve included an online competition component to leverage social reinforcement to keep them invested in the game.