KOD Award-winning projects kick-start a new era in education

At last, we get to learn by playing games!

The Turkish Informatics Foundation has announced the winning projects and ideas for math and science games in Turkey’s first KOD Awards Educational Games Competition.
In the project category, top prize went to Ali Gökhan Birçek for his Cellvivor game, in which the hero of the game tries to keep cells that are losing their ability to function alive. Görkem Üner and Yusuf Mete Saraçoğlu won second prize with Understanding Isaac, a game in which a character named Isaac goes on mysterious adventures between planets that reveal the workings of Newton’s Laws. Furkan Bayri received third prize with Obsidian, a game that transforms the refraction of light shining from the character’s wand into a challenging journey.
In the idea category, Aysun Nurkaya won first prize with her envisioned game Çarpala, Ebru Karayılmaz and Ceren Künutkum Zobi placed second with Math on the Titanic, and Kaan Salı, Tuğberk Dilaver and Merve Nur Varol, third, with Puzzling Pyramid.  
Additionally, Mustafa Zafer Bolat and his game Fun Math received a Special Mention from the President of the Turkish Informatics Foundation, Faruk Eczacıbaşı, while Muhammed Duykan Bakay and Esra Bakay won the Yapı Kredi Special Mention for their game Colorful Climb.  
At the award ceremony that took place on 27 March 2018, Faruk Eczacıbaşı, President of the Turkish Informatics Foundation, drew attention to the foundation’s efforts to facilitate Turkey’s transition to an information-based society and said, “When designing the KOD awards, our aim was to encourage and support the development of math and science educational games that support the curricula of the Ministry of National Education for K12 students. As far as we’re concerned, everyone who applied their minds, ideas and creativity to the subject of learning through educational games are “winners”, whether they received awards here today or not, and have made an important contribution to the process by which are country will progress through education. For this reason, we’re deeply grateful to every competitor in this competition, including those whose projects and ideas didn’t make it to the finals, for your invaluable contribution.”
Eczacıbaşı explained that the idea of a competition emerged from an internal discussion about whether it might be possible to create games that encourage natural learning processes while teaching students in the 6 to 18 age group about subjects in the Ministry of National Education’s curricula. Noting that the KOD Awards are the first educational initiative of their kind in Turkey, he added, “We’re delighted by the response… In the years ahead, we wholeheartedly believe that the KOD Awards will attract many more submissions with more developed content that will contribute to our country’s educational system. As such, I’d like to take this opportunity to convey our warmest appreciation to all participants, stakeholders and supporters.”
Winners received a combined TL 70 thousand in prize money
The first KOD Awards received 600 submissions, 250 games and 350 ideas. Among these, 26 games and 12 ideas made it to the finals, with the winners receiving a combined TL 70 thousand in prize money. Overall interest was high: 60 thousand people visited the website and pageviews of Kododulleri.com reached 145 thousand during the application and evaluation process.
As part of its 75th anniversary initiatives, the Eczacıbaşı Group has taken on the KOD Awards’ main sponsorship. Supporting sponsors were Netmarble Türkiye, Yapı Kredi and Medianova, and communication sponsors were CC Media, Hardware Plus, Karnaval, Manibux, StartersHUB, Purplepan, Monster and Webrazzi.
Supporting Sponsors are optimistic
The executives of Netmarble, Yapı Kredi and Medianova, the KOD Awards Supporting Sponsors, are very optimistic that the winning projects and ideas will contribute to education.  Netmarble EMEA CEO’s Barış Özistek expressed his certainty that the competition would draw the attention of game developers and the educational sector in Turkey, where there are more than 30 million fans of digital games, and demonstrate to them that games can be very effective educational tools.  “The award-winning projects are very good examples of how games can be effective in education. With content that is both fun and educational, I’m sure they will make an important difference,” he said.
Yapı Kredi Assistant General Manager Yakup Doğan said that his institution was delighted to be able to offer the Code.YapıKredi Special Mention, because the aim of the competition was very much in line with their mission to contribute to society and encourage young people to acquire new perspectives. “We are confident that the KOD Awards will make an important contribution to the entrepreneurial ecosystem of our country,” he stated.
Medianova’s CEO Serkan Sevim underlined his institution’s firm belief in the importance of high quality education for Turkey’s future and said, “We are proud to support initiatives like the KOD Awards that encourage young people and help to transport our country into the future. We believe that the application of innovative projects and ideas generated by the KOD Awards alongside traditional methods will be an important component of high quality education in the near future.”
The competition jury comprised Faruk Eczacıbaşı, President of the Turkish Informatics Foundation; Barış Özistek, CEO of Netmarble EMEA; Yakup Doğan, Assistant General Manager of Yapı Kredi; Ozan Aydemir, Founder and Creative Director of the Purple PAN Creative Agency; Güven Çatak, Head of the Bahçeşehir University Digital Game Design Department; Tonguç İbrahim Sezen, Head of the Istanbul Bilgi University Digital Game Design Department; and Dr. Özlem Mecit, Director of the Adapazarı Enka Schools.
The goals of the KOD Awards are threefold: to highlight the important contribution of information technologies to primary, middle school and high school level education; reinforce individual and institutional efforts to create ideas, develop applications and customize them; and motivate new generations of students. This is the first year of the awards, and with them, Turkey will now be able to introduce educational games for mathematics and the sciences into its educational system.
Award-Winning Projects:
First Prize - Cellvivor
The hero in this game sets out on an adventure that begins with bacterial cells and then progresses to plant and animal cells. The hero’s most important task is to save cells that are losing their ability to carry out a series of functions by assisting them. (Biology)
Second Prize – Understanding Isaac
In this game to teach students about Newton’s Laws, Isaac wakes up in space and then sets off on a journey to the planets that is so mysterious that it keeps players curious and wanting to learn more. (Physics-Math)
Third Prize - Obsidian
The game is designed to teach middle school and high school students about optics and the refraction of light in an easy and fun way. By refracting the light emanating from the character’s wand with the use of a mirror and magnifying glass, the player draws a route to the exit and helps the character stay on the path.  (Physics)
Award-Winning Ideas
First Prize - Çarpala
The purpose of this idea is to teach primary school students how to multiply quickly and correctly using cards with different numbers on them.
Second Prize – Math on the Titanic
The idea for this game combines basic gaming elements with the story of how the Titanic sank. While the Titanic is sinking, the character needs to solve math problems to escape from the sinking Titanic. 
Third Prize - Puzzling Pyramid
Still offering puzzles to people today, the pyramids of Egypt are the backdrop of this idea, which requires that players answer the questions they come across inside the pyramids in order to find their way out.