Student coders put their skills to the test Saturday during the inaugural Skoolcade competition, a countywide showcase of student-made video games hosted at Rio Vista Middle School in Oxnard.
"The main purpose of this is to get kids coding, and we're doing it in an attractive way," said Anne Jenks, a teacher at Oxnard's McKinna Elementary School and one of the co-founders of Skoolcade.
Students ranging from third to 12th grade were challenged to create a video game they coded themselves or in small groups. Fifteen schools selected the top three games from their students and submitted them to compete at the county level.At the Skoolcade finals, student programmers had a chance to play each others' computer games, as well as present their own games to a panel of judges who work in the video game industry.
"We wanted to get people in the industry because you always want to make those connections with the real world," Jenks said. For the judges, Skoolcade was an opportunity to meet the next generation of computer programmers.
"It's inspiring to see all the love and care poured into each of the games," said Nathan Hillen, a program manager at Blizzard Entertainment, developer of many popular video game series such as "Warcraft" and "StarCraft." By having students code the video games themselves, teachers hoped to develop collaboration, communication and critical-thinking skills.
Students from St. John's Lutheran School celebrate their win of the Gamers' Choice Award, given to the most popular game at the competition, for their computer game "Apple Air Duct."