UK child coders triumph in European contest

Microsoft recently brought together young programmers from across Europe for a gaming competition. A team from the United Kingdom won the 12-16 age category of the Kodu Kup, besting challengers from Portugal, Finland, Norway, Belgium, Greece, Lithuania, and Estonia in the final. The team created a futuristic game in which players compete to defeat an evil robot. The participants used Kodu, Microsoft’s visual programming language, to create their own games and complete a Dragons’ Den-style pitch to a jury of Members of the European Parliament, education, and gaming experts. The winners were chosen for their presentation, the detail they had put into their game, and the way they worked as a team. “They had really thought about the design, usability, and where their product would be placed in the market, which is remarkable for a group of 12- to 14-year-olds,” says judge Kelly Smith, head of television and games at BAFTA. The Kodu Kup is part of the European Union’s Code Week, an initiative aimed at getting children more interested in coding. “Computational thinking helps our young people to understand and play an active role in the world that surrounds them,” says Computing at School chair Simon Peyton-Jones.

More info here: BBC News (10/16/14) Jane Wakefield

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