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After-school Program Expansion

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School Kids(Middletown Springs, VT) While e-Vermont and Digital Wish classroom training are winding down, the Kodu Game Lab after-school program is now in full swing at Middletown Springs Elementary (MSES). Thanks to a matching grant from Microsoft, Digital Wish has been able to give thousands of dollars worth of software to e-Vermont schools participating in the Kodu after-school club, and Middletown Springs was one who chose to benefit from this great program.

Once a week, two trainers from Digital Wish’s School Modernization Initiative travel to MSES to teach kids the basics of developing games in Kodu Game Lab. It’s really the best of both worlds - the students love the program because they get to play their own games as they create them, and they are grasping logical concepts and increasing their problem-solving capabilities as they go. The ease of use makes it a homerun. Within the first class period, students succeeded in building a 3D world with terrain, objects, characters, and controls. Over the course of just 4 class periods, the students will continue to develop complex behaviors, paths, reactions, dialog and surprisingly advanced gaming strategy.

According to Game Career Guide, game developers made an average of $86,000 a year, with some making upwards of $107,000/year in 2011. Students with early experience developing games are a step ahead of those without experience. In the gaming world, experience is everything, and these kids are getting the opportunity to see the other side of the game world early on.

Digital Wish’s Executive Director, Heather Chirtea, talks about how easy Kodu is to grasp. “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 beginning tasks and moving on to discover creative new ways they could program their characters!”

The after-school program couldn’t have come at a better time. With Digital Wish classroom training through e-VT, students develop their basic computer skills before they begin with Kodu. Now that they’ve learned how to integrate technology into their lives at school, they are able to dabble in something that interests them on a different level while it teaches them problem solving and programming skills at the same time.

Not only do the skills learned in the classroom translate to the Kodu after-school program, the skills learned while doing Kodu translate into the classroom as well. Learning has never been so much fun!

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