Manchester, VT – July 18, 2012 – Congratulations to the winners of the Kodu Challenge, a game development contest for 4-12th grade students residing in Vermont and parts of New Hampshire. The contest, sponsored by Microsoft and run by members of Digital Wish, encouraged students to create fun, innovative games using Microsoft Kodu Game Lab software. To reward the students’ creativity and hard work, nine students went home with an Xbox console with Kinect, and 10 more received Xbox games, courtesy of Microsoft! You can read more about the Kodu Challenge at http://www.digitalwish.org/kodu-contest/index/home.
Winners came from all across Vermont and New Hampshire and included students of all ages. In fact, the Grand Prize winner for the 7-12th grade category, Robert Barlow (pictured on the left), an eighth grade student from Twinfield Union School, has yet to enter High School! Robert won with his unique and detailed game Star Racer. Moretown Elementary School boasted the most winners: Hannah Goodman, 4-6th grade Grand Prize winner with her game Hannah’s World; Erin Magill, 1st Place winner with her game, Erin’s Dirt Bike Canibals; and Bailey McHugh and Anja Samsom, the self-proclaimed “Green Monkeys”, 2nd Place Winners with their game Eat the Star.
Other 1st Place winners, each awarded an Xbox with Kinect for their efforts, were:
Owen and Casey with their game Golden Apple Defender; East Dover, VT
Leland Peschl; Middletown Springs Elementary, VT
Matt with his game Bob v04; Pownal Elementary, VT
Zander with his game Farm Trees; Fairfield, VT.
3rd Place winners were awarded with an Xbox game, valued at $50!
Anil, Kunaal, Rohan and Vasant with their game Final Air Hockey
Boone, James, Russell and Chris with their game Cycle Survival
The games were outstanding and the judging was fierce. Kodu Judge and Digital Wish employee, Sky Kochenour, talks about how tricky it was deciding upon winners. “It was great that we had so many high-quality games, but that also made it much more difficult to judge them! We weren’t just differentiating between good and bad. We were differentiating between good and great.”
The contest concluded at the end of Digital Wish’s after-school program that was started this year to teach students in 4-6th grade the fundamentals of game development using Kodu Game Lab, a Microsoft game development program. The students discovered that Kodu software was incredibly easy to use. Within the first class period, all the participants succeed in building a 3D world with terrain, objects, characters, and controls. Over the course of just 4 class periods, the students were able to produce complex behaviors, paths, reactions, dialog and surprisingly advanced gaming strategy.
For educators, adoption of the Kodu software has been made quite easy. There is a wide array of included tutorials that allow students to literally follow along and try out complex features that challenge them think critically and use their problem solving skills. Upon teaching an introductory lesson to Kodu, Digital Wish’s Executive Director, Heather Chirtea, noted that “Kodu gives students the ability to solve complex problems using nothing more than simple mouse clicks. By the end of the first lesson, students were soaring through the basics and moving on to discover creative new ways they could program their characters!”
A big ‘congratulations’ goes out from Digital Wish to all the winners of the Kodu Challenge and a ‘thank you’ to Microsoft for donating the prizes, and to everyone who participated in both the contest and the after-school program!
About Digital Wish
Digital Wish is a nonprofit on a mission to solve technology shortfalls in K-12 classrooms. At www.digitalwish.org, teachers make technology wishes, and donors make those wishes come true with contributions, bringing technology to needy classrooms in all 50 states. Since August 2009, Digital Wish has granted over 29,000 classroom technology wishes through its online network of over 56,000 teachers, and delivered over $12 million in technology products to American classrooms directly impacting over 500,000 students.