Anna and Elsa from ‘Frozen’ Join Hour of Code

frozen

Code.org has partnered with Disney Interactive to create a new coding tutorial featuring Anna and Elsa from Frozen.

Code.org is a nonprofit company offering free tutorials in computer programming to students from kindergarten on.

The new tutorial, “Artist with Anna and Elsa,” will open the world of basic coding to students, who will learn concepts such as looping and conditionals.  Participants will create snowflakes, snowmen and fractals with the help of the movie’s leading ladies.

The tutorial uses “Blockly,” a drag-and-drop method to create commands that will move Anna and Elsa around on the ice, teaching logic and math through computer programming.  Older students are able to toggle to view the Javascript that the commands are based on.

There will also be short video lectures by women from the tech industry, including Polyvore CEO Jess Lee and Microsoft engineer Paola Mejia.

The new tutorial comes as an effort by the company to encourage more girls to enter the world of coding.

” The diversity in tech issue is one we can put behind us if we get these girls interested in [coding] from the beginning,” said Hadi Partovi, CEO and co-founder of Code.org.

The College Board reported that of the 29,555 students who took the Advanced Placement Computer Science test in 2013, 19% were female, 8% were Hispanic and 4% were black.  Three states, Mississippi, Montana and Wyoming, did not have a single woman take the exam.

The effort is part of Code.org’s Hour of Code campaign, which is in its second year.  The campaign provides free hour-long tutorials pertaining to computer coding to students from kindergarten through high school.  Lessons can be accessed from a variety of devices, including tablets and desktops.

Last year, the first annual event saw 22 million students participate.  The event featured a tutorial based on two popular video games, Angry Birds and Plants vs. Zombies.  Video lectures came from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft founder Bill Gates.  Entire schools participated in the event, and many students logged on from home as well.

The goal of the campaign is to get school-age children across the country writing code for an hour during Computer Science Education Week, running from December 8-14 this year.

“When you’re the only girl entering a classroom, the moment you walk in you feel like you don’t belong. The way we address it is to flood the classroom with young girls who’ve already tried it and know they like it,” said Partovi.

The company has also created an online computer programming curriculum that is currently in use in over 50,000 classrooms across the country, and have offered professional development to teachers in multiple school districts, including New York and Chicago.

Disney is planning to host Hour of Code events for children at its offices in Los Angeles, Palo Alto, Seattle, and Kelowna, British Columbia.  In addition, the company has donated $100,000 to Code.org in an effort to put computer science education into after-school programs.