Kodu – that visual programming thing

Kodu - if you have not heard about it  – you need to. Here at Hamble College our ICT Department has been planning for its introduction for just under a year. Improving the graphics cards, in-house Kodu learning and training. For the past two weeks the team have been using Kodu as an introduction to programming, to promote and market the new ICT in Computing the team are offering next year, just in time for Yr9 Options.

Kodu’s impact after 1 lesson with pure independence….

Our Director of Learning sent me an email yesterday noting

My feeling is that this has had huge positive impact across Yr7,8 & 9 over the past 2 weeks, it was brought up by students a lot at parents evening last week and has played a huge role in options. – Amir Fakhoury

Well you might expect an ICT teacher to say that, but what about the students….

Kodu is a software that helps develop your thinking and learning skills whilst having fun making a game/control kodu. It is basically a simple visual programming thing that anyone can have fun with and create things using their imaginations. Kodu, in my opinion, can be used for any age but may be slightly hard on the younger gamers. I have learnt that Kodu can help with your puzzle solving skills, teach creativity and storytelling and also programming. I have also learnt that, personally, it is easier to play with the controls than read because some of the controls look confusing. I solely think that it is a fun game that definitely help with my I.T. skills and my creative skills. – Shannon

A second comment revealed the challenge of Kodu and again supported out belief that in the right context, with the right environment, coding could offer real value to the curriculum.

Visual programming lets the user of the website create a program; for instance a game called Kudo is a program where you can make your own land up for your character and you then get to give your character commands.

Personally, I liked the way you could create your world from scratch and the program gave you lots of options on colour schemes. I also thought it was very easy to get onto the program.

I think the site could be improved by making it easier to look at your land from a different angle because I couldn’t get a bird’s eye view which made it very difficult to see what I had done with my land. When I scrolled back, on my mouse, I lost my land and had to start again because I couldn’t find my land because my screen went black. Also, the graphics were very pixelated. I didn’t get onto putting my robot/character onto my land because it wasn’t finished, so I don’t know what that was like.

Overall I think this site is very good for people who are experienced with ICT but I found it fiddly and, at times, frustrating!

It was very reassuring to hear such positive comments from our students and it’s great seeing our girls enthused by programming. It certainly fulfil the remit to challenge and inspire.

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