Kodu-Programming for Kids
For years now I have been using Stagecast Creator in my classroom with Middle Schoolers. Stagecast is a programming tool based on Apple’s Cocoa language. It teaches them the logic of programming in a visual way and allows kids to create their own 2D Worlds or Sims. I have seen some fantastic results throughout the years. Some of my students have even won awards at tech conferences and showcases with the games and simulations they have made. Time and time again and often many years later, the students reveal that that was one of their most memorable aspects of my class.
Here are two videos that will better explain for you what Stagecast is and does.
But now, even thought the students are just as excited with this unit in my class, I am finding that I need something to bridge the gap between the 2D Mario-like Worlds of Yesterday with the more awe-inspiring 3D Worlds in the games and now even TV of today. Well, last year at CES (I am talking 2009) I let this Microsoft offering slip me by because it was geared for the XBox only. But now I see that Microsoft Research Labs have released a PC Technical Preview. Here are a couple of videos demonstrating this new Microsoft alternative to teaching young kids programming. Microsoft research Labs says
The language is simple and entirely icon-based. Programs are composed of pages, which are broken down into rules, which are further divided into conditions and actions. Conditions are evaluated simultaneously.
Looks like it might be a winner,although,at first glance, I do not think it offers all of the proximity to real programming that Stagecast does. We shall see. I will follow-up after testing it out this month. I am very anxious to use it with my classses!
Anyone who is already using this in the classroom, please give me a heads up on your experience with it or, if you are using Stagecast or something else and prefer that, let me know too.