Exposing children to STEM skills young will allow them to facilitate innovation for the future. Several opportunities are out there now to offer these skills, one of them being the Microsoft Kodu Challenge launched in partnership with Imagine Cup on March 19th, 2013. The challenge “offers students as young as nine years of age the change to build a game with [...] a visual programming language [called] Kodu”.
Developed by Microsoft, Kodu allows for the creation of Microsoft-based (PC and Xbox) games in an easy to build and approachable language. The language, as a result, is geared toward teaching children basic coding philosophies and skills. However, it’s important to remember that anyone, children and adults, can enjoy Kodu. The main focus is on individuals without extensive coding experiences.
The Kodu Challenge was created in conjunction with Mercy Corps, an organization that works to improve the lives of individuals in crisis, and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop. The challenge makes use of the Kodu software that has already helped thousands put their creativity to work with amazing Microsoft games.
The experience kids have creating their own video games with Kodu represents a strong, multidisciplinary approach to learning and skill development that harnesses kids’ natural love of play with creativity, technical abilities and a deep immersion in fascinating topics,” (Michael Levine)
The Kodu Challenge is from March 19th and runs until May 17th. Students entering are competing to create a Kodu game for the chance to win $3000 for first place, $2000 for second, and $1000 for third place. Entrants are categorized in two age brackets, nine through twelve and thirteen through eighteen. Click here to download Kodu, and once your creation is complete, you can enter your game here!