In this digital age, it is not uncommon to see a child with a smart device in his hands, absorbed in playing the latest game. But in August, at the 2014 Microsoft Kodu Summer Camp sponsored by Microsoft Taiwan and the American Innovation Center (AIC), children aged 9-12 got behind the screen to develop their own games instead.
Aimed at promoting digital literacy for children, the event saw a total of 23 elementary school children learn how to use Kodu—a simple visual programming language customised to create games. Two rounds of the camp, each comprising two-hour sessions held daily for three days, were held at the new AIC facilities in Taipei.
To ensure the children walked away with a holistic understanding of the game development process and the Internet, the curriculum covered cyber-safety, the definition of a strong game plot, how game attributes work and how to utilise the Scrum framework for software development. Not only did the participants learn how to enhance games, they also got busy designing terrains of racing circuits in no time. On the last day, they were divided into groups to rearrange the game attributes of templates from Kodu Game Lab, which they then presented to the class.
Vincent Shih, GM of LCA, Microsoft Taiwan said, “Learning how to program games is a great way to enhance a child’s cognitive development. Through the 2014 Microsoft Kodu Summer Camp, children were able to advance their skills in problem-solving, creative thinking and storytelling, helping boost their ability to think creatively and strategically.”
The event received positive feedback from the young participants, including Cai Jie-En who commented, “Not only did I learn how to code in just a few days, I also picked up many new English words!”
Upcoming learning sessions in September include Cloud of Life, Digital Young Artists and Startup Fun. For more information, visit the American Innovation Center’s Facebook page.