HappyValley2011Today I became a hero!  Sadly, not because of any personal accomplishment.  I was simply a messenger.  I was invited to speak at a special assembly for all students at Happy Valley School in Peoria, AZ.  The topic?  Officially it was “How to Prepare to Become a Software Engineer” (yawn).  I accomplished my objective, but I was sneaky about it.  From their perspective, my presentation was “How to Make Games for XBOX 360” (oohs ahhhs hoorays).

Thanks to a suggestion from Lynn Langit, a Microsoft Developer Evangelist on the west coast, I introduced my eager audience to Kodu, a visual programming platform for developing games on the XBOX.

kodu_programming_ui

During my demo of how easy it is to learn “visual conditional logic”, the entire assembly became very quiet – something a few teachers commented never happened before.  When the presentation was over, so many students approached me with excitement, and assured me they were going to make some cool games.  One student approached me sadly and said “I don’t have an XBOX, I only have a PS3.”  The students weren’t the only ones wanting in the action.  Some teachers and parents also asked a few questions about the platform (there is a gamer in all of us).

UPDATE!

Dear Mike,

Thank you so much for the fabulous assemblies last Friday. Many of the children are still talking about it and Mr. McCurley has raved that it was the best special assembly we’ve had! We greatly appreciate you, and the time you spent enlightening our students about the wonderful world of technology.
Thanks again!

All the best,

Marcia Phillips
Happy Valley School

It was a great time, and the energy level was contagious.  At the end, one student asked me for an autograph.  As I said, I am just the messenger.  Nonetheless, I obliged and signed away.  Is that so wrong?