Seattle coding education organization Code.org has announced a partnership with Microsoft in an effort to create a Minecraft-themed tutorial for this year’s Hour of Code event.
Schools around the world have participated in the Hour of Code event for the last two years, with more than 100 million students participating across 180 countries and using 40 languages. Taking place in December, the event works to get children interested in computer programming.
Last year, Code.org used characters from the popular movie Frozen to create a tutorial for students to learn basic coding skills. This year, the organization has already announced it will use characters from the new movie “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” to create a tutorial. The partnership with Microsoft will allow the duo to create a tutorial based on the popular game Minecraft, writes Rachel Lerman for The Seattle Times.
Designed for children age 6 and older, the tutorial will feature two characters from the game, Steve and Alex, teaching basic coding concepts to children in a 2-D Minecraft world. Children will be urged to connect blocks to complete actions and generate computer code. There will be 14 levels of play, as well as a free play time that will allow children to explore the coding concepts they just learned. The tutorial will be available on a web browser so that schools will not need to download the full Minecraft game in order to access it, writes Nick Wingfield for The New York Times.
“A core part of our mission to empower every person on the planet is equipping youth with computational thinking and problem-solving skills to succeed in an increasingly digital world,” said Satya Nadella, chief executive officer, Microsoft. “With ‘Minecraft’ and Code.org, we aim to spark creativity in the next generation of innovators in a way that is natural, collaborative and fun.”
Hadi Partovi, the co-founder and chief executive of Code.org, said the Hour of Code was created in an effort to increase student interest in an activity they do not know much about. “Using something they already love and are excited about makes it so much easier to take that first plunge,” Mr. Partovi said.
Microsoft, one of Code.org’s largest donors, having donated over $3 million so far, is expected to lead thousands of coding events throughout 50 countries. Such events will take place in Microsoft stores, offices and innovation centers in addition to facilities of Microsoft’s YouthSpark nonprofit partners and schools. The company will also be offering Windows Store credit to all educators who organize an Hour of Code event across the world.
The event will take place during Computer Science Education Week, December 7-13. Code.org is making a push for schools to participate by holding their own coding events at any point during the week. There are expected to be over 100,000 such events this year, with a special focus on introducing more girls and minority students to the field.