August 7, 2012
SEATTLE (RPRN) 08/07/12 — On Nov. 26, 2011, the Mars rover Curiosity was launched from Cape Canaveral, a trip that will have taken more than eight months before Curiosity lands on the surface of the Red Planet.
With excitement peaking in the days before the landing, Microsoft and NASA are using the event as an opportunity to enable youngsters to learn computational skills and explore the Martian terrain by using Kodu: Mars Edition.
Developed in cooperation with NASA’s Mars Public Engagement Program, led by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), and Microsoft Research’s FUSE Labs, Kodu: Mars Edition lets children create games for the PC or Xbox using a simple, visual programming language. The aim of the collaboration is to create compelling learning experiences that develop students’ competency in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), along with 21st-century skills.
“With the landing of Curiosity in August,” says Scott Fintel, a technical producer for Microsoft, “along with Kodu being worked on by the Games Division within Microsoft, we found a way to make compelling educational experiences for kids line up perfectly for the landing.”
That landing, by the way, scheduled for 10:31 p.m. PDT on Aug. 5, can be viewed live on Xbox LIVE.
Kodu: Mars Edition, available for free download, is being unveiled during a Curiosity Landing educator conference in Pasadena, Calif., on Aug. 3 at JPL. The release enables school kids in the fifth through eighth grades to program a Mars rover, explore the planet, or play one of three professionally developed game levels.
The Martian adventure introduces new objects and new programming elements into the Kodu environment via the game levels and enables students to develop skills similar to those of real NASA rover drivers:
These were precisely the sort of playful learning exercises envisioned when Kodu was being researched and developed by FUSE Labs.
As you might expect, it took teamwork by many people to align this Kodu update with the Curiosity landing. Of particular note are Pat Yongpradit, a computer-science teacher from Silver Spring, Md., who wrote the curriculum and worked with the JPL’s curriculum advisers, and Stephen Coy of FUSE Labs, who was instrumental in getting the code up and running.
All that effort will be well worth it if students are encouraged to take greater interest in science, technology, engineering and math.
“We were able to combine everything that makes Kodu great—implement new characters and objects, create new actions for the rover, and build three fantastic, fun levels,” Fintel says. “With the cooperation of educational experts both actively teaching and working with NASA, we created something that teachers can use in the classroom and effectively help kids learn about Mars, rovers, geology, and computer programming—critical skills necessary for continued exploration of our solar system and other important STEM careers.”
RushPR News is a social media newswire service created to help you with content creation and distribution to news outlets and social media networks. RushPRnews can also assist you with your web strategies with experts advices and strategies at an affordable cost. Write us at email@example.com
Content- Legal Responsibility - All material is copyrighted - You may repost but you MUST link back to the original post on your page and acknowledge Rush PR News as the news source. Rush PR News is not legally and/or morally responsible for content of press releases, opinions expressed or fact-checking.
Rush PR News cannot be held legally responsible for material published and distributed through its newswire service or published in its press-room and therefore cannot be sued for published material. Third-party must be contacted directly to dispute content.
Rush PR News is not the contact for material published.