Teacher Review For Kodu Game Lab

Engaging programming tool

Meredith M.
Technology Integration Coach
J. Mason Tomlin Elementary School
Mantua, NJ
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My Grades K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
My Rating 4
Learning Scores
Engagement 5
Pedagogy 3
Support 4
My Students Liked It Yes
My Students Learned Yes
I Would Recommend It Yes
Setup Time 5-15 minutes
Great for Creation
Student-driven work
Great with Advanced learners
How I Use It
I have used this app as an enrichment activity for students who completed our classroom unit on Scratch early, and also as an option in my after school programming club. For my very motivated and self-driven students, it is a wonderful learning tool. I have found that students who are not as motivated often end up just browsing through the app instead of actually following the tutorials or creating their own programs. My students begin their programming experience with Scratch. We cover programming basics and create a few games together before students start an independent project. Students who do well in Scratch are permitted to use Kodu as an enrichment tool to continue their learning. Because of the complexity, students often get frustrated and go off task. It would definitely help to have some sort of accountability built in for when students are using it independently. I also use it with my programming club, who can choose a project of their own. With this type of activity, students have a little more structure, and are required to submit a plan for their project. While it helps keep them a little more on task, it would still be helpful to have an in-app overview of student progress.
My Take
Kodu is a great app for learning some of the basics of programming. The students love experimenting with it, and the fact that the games they create can be played on an X-Box 360 is added incentive. This is a very powerful tool, but students tend to be easily distracted by the many tutorials and examples. Without close supervision students quickly end up off task. This app works great in a more structured environment. I think the app would benefit from having required tutorial levels that students must accurately complete before being able to go further with the tools. It would also be useful to be able to set up multiple student accounts - currently if a student on the computer previously makes changes to the tutorials, the next student to use it has the modifications show up when they launch the program. I would love to see some sort of teacher console to easily see what students have completed.