Cardross primary wins national prize from Microsoft

A village primary school with just 180 pupils has brought home software giant Microsoft’s Kodu Kup Judges’ Award, one of four winning teams in the UK-wide competition to design computer games.

Klan Kodu celebrate their win - Sarah Mitchell, Etienne Machtelinckx and Erin Gregory
Klan Kodu celebrate their win – Sarah Mitchell, Etienne Machtelinckx and Erin Gregory

Cardross primary’s programming so impressed the judges that they said some of the coding used by pupils went beyond what the judges themselves could do within the software.

There are 380,000 students and 8,000 teachers using Microsoft’s ‘Kodu’ computer programming software in the UK, more than any other country in the world, including the USA.

This year there were 12 finalists from ten schools, with a Scottish school competing for the first time. The Judges’ Choice Award is awarded to the team that has most impressed the judges.

Cardross’ three-strong ‘Klan Kodu’ team travelled to compete at Microsoft’s campus at Thames Valley Park, Reading, for the final of the UK Kodu Kup on July 17.

The team were Erin Gregory, Etienne Machtelinckx and Sarah Mitchell, accompanied by head teacher Elspeth Davis.

Each finalist team of three had to give a 15-minute presentation to the judges – effectively a sales pitch.

Ms Davies said: “Klan Kodu gave an outstanding presentation – confident, articulate and skilful. They demonstrated, not only the complexity of the programming in their game, Maze Adventures, but also a quality of presentation skills rarely seen in children of this age.

“In their award presentation, the pupils were commended for the complex and challenging programming coding they had used within the creation of their game, and the thoughts they had given to future developments which their game could have.”

Gerald Haigh who writes regularly for the Microsoft series of education blogs, said of the competition: “One of the best teams at presenting was ‘Klan Kodu’ from Cardross Primary, winners of the Scottish final.

“A well-rehearsed presentation of their game’s back story, using homemade puppets drew us into the game itself which was highly inventive, featuring two kinds of maze, one of them underwater.

“It was great to see Cardross, because Scottish entrants come up against not only distance (about 450 miles for Cardross, involving a 5am start and a flight to Gatwick, itself 70 miles from TVP) but the earlier Scottish summer break, which probably poses even more problems. Their Judges’ Award was well deserved.”

Argyll and Bute Council’s policy lead for education and lifelong learning, Aileen Morton said: “To have achieved success at the highest level the first time Scotland has taken part in this national competition is something for us all to celebrate.

“The pupils have done exceptionally well to receive this well-deserved accolade and I am pleased to see the council’s commitment to developing learning technologies recognised at this level.”

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