6.Å encodes motivational games for KMD employees

How can KMD employees become motivated to prioritize waste sorting at the end of lunch in the canteen or to swap the car for the bike? 6.Å. at Valhøjs Alle Skole in Copenhagen had eight strong proposals for this when they presented their work in connection with the project Coding Class on 17 December 2020.

The assignment was provided by KMD in connection with the project Coding Class, where 6th grade students in selected schools across the country are taught coding. The aim of the project is to generate interest in IT and technology among pupils and teachers and eventually introduce IT teaching as a permanent part of the school curriculum.

For each Coding Class course, a company is involved as task holder. This gives the students an insight into how to work with development in a real workplace, and at the same time gives the project a higher level of seriousness, because it has to be presented to strangers in a real company and not 'just' as a textbook task.

And on Thursday 17 December it was 6.Å at Valhøjs Alle Skole in Copenhagen that could present eight proposals for self-developed games, which should (hopefully) teach and motivate the employees of KMD to become better at sorting waste in the canteen and ride the bike to work. All to reduce KMD's overall climate footprint.

Presentation via Teams

Under normal circumstances, the presentations were to have taken place at KMD's head office in Ballerup, where the students would meet with employees and sense the environment of an IT company. However, due to COVID-19, the presentations were conducted directly from the children's own rooms via Teams. And while not everyone could see each other, there was no doubt that most had had a lot of fun while solving the task.

This was also evident from the many creative proposals for games and apps, where KMD's employees are guided to collect points both individually and departmentally, by, for example grabbing the bike and throwing the apple in the right bin in the canteen.

Thus, there were offers of apps, arcade games, maze games and a single group had even created a quiz where you not only collect points, but also learn how much CO2 you actually emit should you choose the car over the bike.

Free lunch in the canteen - or cinema tickets

Overall, however, the students agreed that the games may not be motivation enough in themselves. As a result, competitions were planned across the board where KMD employees will compete for free lunch in the canteen, or perhaps cinema tickets. "But only when you are allowed back into the movie theater," as one of the students sensibly pointed out.

Ditte Haugaard Clausen, Lead PA & Sustainability Officer in KMD and assignment officer, participated in the presentation and was overall very impressed with how much the students had achieved in the short time they had available for the task.

"We must bear in mind that, overall, the students have had very few hours to have coding lessons, come up with ideas to solve the task at hand, and present and execute their idea in the form of a finished game," she explains, and continues: "In addition, 6.Å was sent home in connection with the COVID-19 lockdown and had to cooperate only via Teams. Nevertheless, all groups managed to present elaborate ideas and creative game solutions with beautiful layouts that were practically ready for use. They all did a really good job!"

Ditte Haugaard Clausen goes on to report that she has even run the Coding Class project with some 8th graders, who were nowhere near the finished projects presented by 6.Å.

Coming up with the idea was the most fun

In connection with the review of the projects, the students received continuous feedback on their assignments from their teachers and from the KMD panel of judges consisting of Ditte Haugaard Clausen and Anne Katrine Eriksen, who asked, among other things, what the students thought of the work on programming. Here there was a broad consensus that the most fun had been to work with the idea itself and to learn that they had in fact succeeded in producing a game when it was all finished.

You can see all 8 solutions here

Coding Class Facts

During the Coding Class course, students are taught both coding and algebraic and abstract thinking, logical structure and problem solving. While it is unlikely to be necessary for everyone to be able to code for themselves, learning about coding is also about understanding how technology works – and how it can be used to create new opportunities.

Instead, it's about giving opportunities and interest to students who might not otherwise be exposed to them. In practical terms, coding class teaching is based on game development because most children like to play. At the same time, it is a creative process to come up with a game and build it.

The project is supported by members from the IT industry as well as KMD together with six municipalities and the Danish Agency for IT and Learning.

The gaming solutions are all produced in the Scratch program, a blog-based coding program published by MIT Lab for educational use worldwide.