Today we ended our 6 week unit looking at Kodu with year 5. The game they made today managed to involved some quite intricate coding that tested the pupils knowledge of the program. The game involved enemies spawning from evil factories, then aimed to take down or main character. The Guide for making the game is here.
The video above was from 'that' boy who sits quietly most weeks and falls under my radar sometimes. His work was neat and tidy, and completed everything I asked. He was proud of his game, and was so pleased with himself at the end that I had to upload it! We also came across the screen recording software in Windows 10 that is sooooo easy for the kids to access. This has made sharing children's content from Minecraft and Kodu so much easier, as well as being relatable for the pupils. Youtube stars like Stampy are who they look up to, so sharing their work on youtube has much more relevance than a green tick in a book! He'd love some comments back if possible! Well done Abu!
This morning with my year 5 group we had a go at making the Kodu fish tanks. They are a great example of creating background coding. Programming the objects in the world to work on their own, with no input from the user. This skill is great for the children when they make more advanced games in the future. They add a real level of depth to their game.
The tricky part in this one is when you add a second page of programming to the fish. Telling them to ignore the first set of instructions when they see the fish food, and then returning to the first set of coding when the food has been eaten. Creating this loop is pretty tricky, so go through this with your pupils slowly!
The beauty of this project is how far the kids can take it if they quickly get to grips with it. There are loads of bits you could add to it! Why not program a turtle to run away from the fish, or a shell that opens and closes when the fish swim close by. You could code a bit of seaweed to play ocean sound effects, or some clouds that move above the game.
Have a go and share your work online!
Launching a Kodu club!
I've been sitting on this for a while now, trying to find a few spare minutes to add it to my website. Over the past few weeks I've been lucky enough to be asked to host some Kodu events in some of the local schools. I love going out to other schools, and I always find it a fun challenge.
My first ever (!) event in a near by school was to launch their own after school Kodu club. The pupils had had a little dabble on the software in class, but nothing to in detail, and the staff were working at a similar level, so it was a hour of the basics.
In the hour session the pupils managed to create a simple collecting game that they could play in pairs. The one we worked on was the Apple collecting game I've demonstrated here. This included an interesting map and 2 playable characters. The pupils extended this game though by adding some enemies that chased them down while they collected the apples. I chose this game as the coding needed in it is very simple and basic, but the principles of it can be applied in SO many other games! Enemies chasing you, collecting different items, moving around a map. The possibilities when using these are great, and with more time I would have like them to create their own game, using these key concepts. We also had a little dabble in the variables you can add when doing scoring, to work out who would win, and by how many points . Adding some scoring to the game was a great hook for the pupils, and made them SO competitive! The kids came up with some great ideas as to why some of the apples might take away some points, and why some would be big bonus points! All this lead to some great story telling ideas, and would be great to continue with and develop.
We had a few problems in the session, but that's to be expected. A tip for future sessions is to make sure the Xbox remote driver has been installed on the computers as well as the Kodu software!! They kids were great with it though, and we more than happy to take part using the mouse and keyboard.
I'm hoping to go back to the club in a few weeks to see how they're getting, and how they've improved at using the software. That should open us up to do some more advanced or technical concepts in the gaming I've been desperate to try out on some pupils! Plus the Xbox controllers should all be working fine by the time I get back!
Kodu in the Klassroom