I have been introduced to a neat new project - Kodu! No, I am not congratulating you - that is the name of the program you use to develop this amazing new world!
What is Kodu?
Kodu (originally named Boku) is a visual programming environment tool designed to be accessible for children and enjoyable for anyone.
Kodu is available to download as an Xbox 360 Indie Game. There is also a PC version in an open beta which is available to anyone at their website.Kodu is different from other projects in several key ways:
•It avoids typing code by having a user construct programs using visual elements with a game controller
•Rather than a bitmapped or 2D display, programs are executed in a 3D simulation environment, similar to Alice (another program you can use)
Information borrowed from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kodu
It is downloadable to your PC and it allows you to create Kodu characters and your own Kodu world! You are given a blank world, and you choose your terrain, landscape, objects, etc. to create games, simulations, and many other possible things. It is like a virtual world - you give your Kodu character an action, and when you run it, the Kodu does the action. Basically it is a program where your students can create games - which can be uploaded to their XBox 360!
I have found (with the help of my learning technologist) where to download it (we already have gotten approval and have it installed in our school), a bunch of resources and tutorials both in print and video format for students to teach themselves or you to teach yourself, and have put them all on my wikispace. I developed a page on my wikispace for Kodu Game Development, and have created a 18 class period mini-unit, complete with assignments for a CPT 30 student. I would not recommend giving this project to a student in a lower skill level, or a lower class stage because it takes some real ingenuity, creativity, and computer smarts to figure out some of the stuff. Of course some younger students could do this as a modified project yes, but what I have developed will be aimed expectation-wise for a student in grade 12.
Check it out - and please comment on my blog because I want to hear your thoughts!