One of the things I was responsible for while I was working at Microsoft was promoting the Imagine Cup competitions. I did that pretty well. I like the competition and think that is is generally a good thing. Now I am back in the classroom and thinking about trying to see if I can get some students to form a team. Were I in the college/university environment this would be a no brainer. I’d be pushing it all out. For high school students I’m still trying to make up my mind.
The thing is that high school kids don’t have as much time as university students do. Nor do my students have quite the backgrounds in development that an upper class university CS major has let alone a graduate student in CS. So winning is a reach goal. Though there have been some high school teams reach the US finals in the game division a couple of times so it is not completely out of reach. So much depends on student motivation though. And since this does not fit neatly into my classes which are single semester ones applying external motivation is tough.
I think it would be good for them to try though. Probably in the game competition if anything. High school students are more ready for that one than the others. Plus I have a couple of Kinects and a bunch of Xbox game controllers we could use. Maybe I could try and get them to create a Pitch Video as well.
In the next few days I’ll start talking to students in my honors programming class and in the AP CS course. We’ll see if there is interest.