Hands up – which Scottish primary school took on 300 schools from all over the UK and won hands down?
Dunoon Primary School, who fought off the cream of game designers from Scotland, England and Wales to take home the Kodu Kup, Microsoft UK’s computer programming competition– taking the prize to Scotland for the first time.
The win endorses Argyll and Bute’s primary schools’ growing reputation for being top of the class when it comes to technology based learning.
Dunoon Primary School’s Pro-Gamers team of eleven- and twelve-year-olds – Olivia Robertson, Lewis MacKay and Aidan Purdie - fought off challenges from schools across Scotland to win the Scottish Microsoft ‘Kodu Kup’ at West College Scotland on 17 June.
They then packed their bags to take on the national finalists at a hotly contested match hosted by Microsoft at their UK headquarters in Reading on 13 July.
The team wowed the judges with their exciting game Rural Racers, created from scratch, and impressed them with a business case, marketing plan and promotional goods.
The win comes hot on the heels of last year’s Scottish primary winners Cardross Primary, who were the first Scottish school to be invited to the UK final, where they lifted the Judges Choice Award, and who were placed third this time. Rosneath Primary’s team Diamond Dogs were also Scottish finalists.
This success follows a technology showcase event hosted in Dunoon by the council’s learning technologies team, attended by 150 primary pupils and their parents. The aim of this event was to encourage young people to think about future career opportunities in the technology sector in addition to showcasing their talents.
Chris Forrest, Managing Director, Microsoft Scotland, said, “Huge congratulations to the KoduKup 2015 UK Champions, Dunoon Primary’s ‘Pro -Gamers’ - it’s truly wonderful to see these young people be inspired by technology. It’s all the more impressive when you know that the children and their families have put off their summer holidays to compete! I’d also like to recognise the talent and commitment of all the entrants who have worked so hard, as well as the schools and teachers who have backed them.”
Argyll and Bute Council’s Policy Lead for Education and Lifelong Learning, Councillor Rory Colville, said, “This is a marvellous achievement. The award demonstrates there are no limits when self-motivation and teamwork combine to create a pathway to learning that heightens the power of deduction. This project provides young people in our schools with excellent ICT skills, and improves their understanding of computer programming and how technologies work, all of which are essential to their future.”
The council’s Executive Director of Community Services Cleland Sneddon said, “We are very aware that almost every field of employment now relies on technology. Through our education and youth services the council is providing young people with every opportunity to realise their potential. This project is important to the economy of Argyll and Bute as the council wishes to offer our young people as much choice as possible in where they live and work.”
David Renton, Curriculum and Quality Leader for Computing at West College Scotland in Paisley, who organised the Scottish event on behalf of Microsoft, said “Argyll and Bute have done really well again in the competition this year. It is amazing result that in only our second year of running the Scottish KoduKup that the Scottish champs have taken on the rest of the UK and won.”
Dunoon Primary School head teacer Sylvia Clark said, “We are delighted about the success of our Pro-Gamers team, and going on to represent Scotland at the UK final has been a fantastic achievement.
“Using Kodu in our school has increased programming skills for our pupils, as well as providing the children with a greatly enriched learning experience. We see Kodu as a vital part of the firm foundation of IT skills required for life, learning and work.”
The Kodu Kup is a national game creation competition organised by the Microsoft Educator Network, and is aimed at all children in the UK aged between seven and 14. Students plan and create their games and are encouraged to assess and give one another feedback. 480,000 students throughout the UK have been using Kodu Kup. The long-term goal of this project is to capture the imagination of young people, to showcase what can be created and inspire through technology.
Argyll and Bute Council’s learning technologies team have been providing additional exciting computer science related learning opportunities for young people at primary level. The team were awarded a silver award under the category of ‘Improvement and Innovation in Learning’ at the council’s 2014 excellence awards.