Kodu is a kid friendly software that gives young children the power to design video games with an easy to use, visual programming language. Educational tools that teach programming skills to children are now becoming more popular and increasingly more valuable, giving the younger generation a head start in a world where technology is one of the fastest growing job fields.
The free PC Kodu download and the $5 version from the XBOX marketplace both have an XBOX controller interface where kids can sculpt and decorate landscapes and add objects like buildings, lakes and trees. Children will also learn to populate their game world with interactive characters, and even develop other game aspects such as gameplay and scoring systems.
The Imagine Cup
Microsoft’s tech competition, The Imagine Cup, has been participated in by over 1.65 million college students from over 190 countries over the last decade. In previous years of The Imagine Cup, the contest was focused solely on college students developing their own software and technology solutions from the ground up.
This year, with the launch of Kodu, Microsoft is adding another category to the competition. Children from ages of 9 to 18 can now also compete in the Imagine Cup by creating a game or interactive story based on the competition’s theme, “Water & People”, for a chance to win cash, prizes and even grants for college. The category will be split into two age groups, (9-12 and 13-18). International finalists will be provided with a free trip to Russia to take part in the finals being held in St. Petersburg.
Kodu’s Features and Teaching Tools
Microsoft describes the many aspects of the software on the Kodu website. The company describes Kodu as a rich tool for narrative creation and storytelling which lets children experience programming as a creative medium. The program also develops children’s critical thinking skills and introduces the logic and problem solving skills needed for programming.
With children’s wild running imaginations, it should be fascinating to see the results of the competition.
[Image via kodulab]