One hour could kick start your students’ coding

Students coding at the Microsoft Store

How many people write code worldwide?

During Computer Science Education Week, from Dec. 5 to 11, there will be many millions. They’ll be all ages, they’ll code in more than 45 natural languages, and they’ll do their coding from over 180 countries as they participate in the fourth annual Hour of Code.

The founders of Hour of Code, tech entrepreneurs Hadi and Ali Partovi, believed that not enough people know how to write code, that everybody should, and that everybody could, just by giving it a try for an hour. Microsoft Education has been an enthusiastic supporter of the event since it began, in 2013, and this year released special tutorials for Hour of Code based on its highly popular Minecraft game.

Minecraft empowers players to explore, gather resources and build things in various environments full of animals and other Minecraft creatures. In the Hour of Code edition, students insert blocks of text in natural language — with JavaScript code under the hood, so to speak — that serve as computer commands, directing the creatures to move in certain directions or make characteristic animal sounds, like clucking or mooing. The students face a series of 12 challenges to overcome as they create their own simple game that they can share with friends.

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Using the text blocks, novice coders practice the logical tasks necessary in computer programming: linear thinking, sequential commands, repeat loops, and “if” statements. This hands-on experience takes place in a fun setting, with many other budding coders. The students use skills that will help them achieve more in the classroom, build confidence, and learn problem-solving and critical-thinking skills required in a tech-fueled world. Students can also take their ideas from concept to code in Microsoft Imagine and Virtual Academy, an online resource for courses and software.hoc-3

Educators looking to bring Creative Coding through Games and Apps (CCGA) to the classroom can access Microsoft training resources, or visit Microsoft Stores, which will host hundreds of free Hour of Code workshops in retail locations across the globe.

These events are free, 90-minute programs for students eight and older. Contact your local Microsoft Store, and ask for the Community Development Specialist to book your class’ field trip.

If you can’t organize a field trip in person, check out the Minecraft Hour of Code Tutorials — https://code.org/minecraftto get your students excited about computer science.

Even after the Hour of Code and Computer Science Education Week are over, you can visit a Microsoft Store to keep learning about how to code. Find out more about free workshops and other educational opportunities you can get involved in year-round, whether you’re a student, parent, educator or any other kind of code enthusiast: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/philanthropies/youthspark.