End of year fun with Kodu and games creation

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“Games are important to young learners as they represent opportunity for autonomy, responsibility, choice and struggle. In many aspects of their lives kids today are not allowed to struggle, to develop courage, self reliance, resilience, responsibility and to excel in their own terms. My experience shows that kids really crave all of that and can be motivated to work very hard to develop these traits through well structured game-based learning programs.” Dr Bron Stuckey , Principal Innovative Education Ideas.

Many teachers are beginning to explore student games creation as a learning activity in their classroom. No longer are games for down time at home, but we know that we can use them in learning at school, and utilizing Microsoft software such as Kodu, we can now create 3D games at school.

Cathie Howe, Manager of Macquarie ICT Centre and former Microsoft Partners in Learning Australian Innovative Teacher recipient, writes for us about games development using Kodu, a great Microsoft tool for creating games.

“At Macquarie ICT Innovations Centre we have been using Microsoft’s Kodu Game Lab in our Good Game Design teacher workshops, student boot camps and projects since 2010. Kodu is one of those rare pieces of software that is suitable for people of all ages to use. I have introduced 4 year olds to basic world building and coding using Kodu right through to students in stage 6 at high school. It is also used in one of the first year courses as part of Macquarie University’s Game Design degree! The ability for young game designers to easily create engaging game worlds and learn to code intuitively with Kodu’s visual programming language quickly immerses students into a rich, authentic learning experience which fosters inquiry and where knowledge is often co-constructed through shared learning and discoveries.

Young designers are limited by their own imaginations when it comes to designing games using Kodu. Over the years I have seen Kodu integrated into classroom learning in a number of ways. Here are a few examples to get you started:

  • Review one of the games included in Kodu Game Lab by default. Can you modify the game to make it more fun, more intuitive, more challenging?
  • Recreate a game you enjoy playing in Kodu.
  • Come up with a series of short Kodu challenges to encourage your students to explore more aspects of coding. e.g. Kodu is trapped on an island and food is running low. Create a machine that wills teleport Kodu to another island ; create a Power Up that will make Kodu move faster for a period of time when it picks up an object or create an alarm to sound to warn your Kodu that danger is nearby.
  • Create a 2D platform game using Kodu.
  • Give students the option of creating a game as the product of a project based unit of work.
  • Create a game around a shared class story or write your own backstory – then build the game in Kodu.
  • Produce a review of a student created Kodu game in the style of ABC’s Good Game Spawn Point.”

If you are interested in using Kodu to work with students to create games around learning focus areas, then you will need some resources. We have created a Kodu Games board at our Pinterest page to keep you updated with the best information, examples, and tips and tricks in using this exciting software.

 Want to be a Guest Blogger? If you would like to share how you use Microsoft in your classroom, please email aus-edu@microsoft.com and tell us your idea for a post.

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