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A great way to introduce students to the world of programming is through Kodu. Kodu is developed by Microsoft, and it's a programming application that allows students to program digital games. However, instead of having to start by writing out long strings of code, they get a start in their drag and drop environment. Students can create their own worlds and then in these worlds they can place characters. Students can tell that characters had to interact with the world and other objects and through this process they learn about programming. Now, installing Kodu is very simple, but there are a few steps that go with it.
Kodu is free and the main Kodu application can be downloaded from the kodugamelab.com home page. However, in order to run this application, there is a few additional programs that you'll need to install. If you take a look at the Kodu downloads page you'll see a tab that says system requirements. Under system requirements you'll see that this only runs on a Windows operating system, and there are some requirements in terms of the minimum graphics card that you need to support Kodu. Furthermore you'll also notice that it requires the .NET framework and the XNA framework.
These are two additional applications that run in the background of your computer and allow students to use the programming tools built into Kodu. The fastest way to find both these additional applications that are required to run Kodu is simply to search for them inside of Google. You can access the .NET framework by going to microsoft.com/net. And here you can download the most recent version, which is currently 4.5.1. After you download the application, simply click on it to install it. You can also then search for the XNA framework. Now, unfortunately, the XNA framework does not have a home page and is just found on the download center on Microsoft's main website.
The fastest way to find this is to type XNA, space, and then framework into a Google search bar. And the most recent XNA Framework download should be within the first few links. Once you've downloaded and installed both the XNA Framework and the .NET framework. You then want to go back to KoduGameLabs.com, click on get Kodu, and select download.
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