I spent some time recently with teachers and students at the FUSE Lab's Kodu Kamp in Redmond, Wa. I've blogged a lot about technology and students' appetite for technology as it relates to gaming, how content can come alive and students can get more excited about learning via gaming. Kodu represents a little bit of a different environment where gaming is helping launch potential interest in careers, and it does a really great job of simplifying the way in which programming comes alive for students.
One of the things I saw in just talking to students at the Kodu Kamp was students really were excited to be able to construct and problem solve the creation of their games...they were almost doing it natively. It was fascinating to watch them build games and environments, understand what was going wrong if they encountered a problem, and diagnose how to make specific events happen based on rules, and smooth the transition from one environment to another. I think this was more exciting to them than actually playing the game. Kodu is a great way to expand the appreciation of very complex sets of problems for students to figure out, build critical thinking skills, as well as get kids exposed for the first time to what technology and software programming is all about.
In Australia, Kodu pilots were conducted in 20 schools to better understand the impact of teaching and learning when incorporating Kodu and other Web 2.0 technologies in the classroom. The outcomes of the study can be found here. It's an interesting read to understand the perspectives from both teachers and students and who most benefitted.
To get started ...here's a short and simple 7-minute tutorial video on Kodu made by a school in the UK...and you can find a classroom curriculum kit for your school here. We would love to hear more feedback and see the games your students are creating...
We love Kodu in Scotland and have also developed a series of 12 progressive tutorials aimed at classroom teachers to help them gain confidence and to introduce Kodu to their students.
You can find them here and we are very happy to share them with others educators if they are useful. www.youtube.com/consolarium
We have run a lot of courses on Kodu now and we have found the Scottish children really like working with Kodu using the x-box controller and not just the key board. We think it really gives the impression that they are developing for the x-box.
Very exciting times for games design in schools!
We have been using KODU since early beta at Microsoft DigiGirlz events with great success. Click on the 'helping' tag on my blog to see information about DigiGirlz and TeachingKidsProgramming events using KODU, SmallBasic and more.
Thank you for sharing these resources...look forward to sharing the great work with Kodu in Scotland.