Computer Science Education Week is starting today, and Microsoft has taken to their blog to share their excitement, as well as mentioning all-time high enthusiasm internally for computer science movement Hour of Code.
Computer science for youth
Started by non-profit computer science promoting organization Code.org in the US in 2013, Hour of Code aims to teach computer students computer science through short programming tutorials with incentives for completion. The tutorial offerings, initially only from Code.org, have now been developed and supported by many tech companies, Microsoft included.
Learn computer science with Minecraft
In fact, one the most notable “Hour of Code” contributions this year comes from Microsoft itself, who created a coding tutorial using its recently acquired IP, ‘Minecraft.‘ The game was already big in education before the Microsoft acquisition, introducing a fun playground for children that’s also surprisingly powerful for demonstrating computer science concepts, and with the tutorials, there is just no better way to teach your children how to code.
The tutorial uses “Blocky,” a visualization of actual programming codes, in simple command blocks that can be chained and executed. “Steve” or “Alex,” depending on the player’s choice, will move according to the programmed commands, solving puzzles and challenges, and showing children how their code is applied in an attractive and fun way. Lead Developer of Minecraft, Jens Bergenstein, or “Jens” will be available in pre-recorded videos to give out hints and instruction.
Contributing to the world
A number of Microsoft lead developers worked with Code.org on the project, which has seen 2.4 million engagements since its launched 3 weeks ago. Thousands of Microsoft employees are now also volunteering in Microsoft hosted events around the world. Microsoft describes this evolvement as “more engaged than ever.” Even Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella is joining on the learning spirit, teaching coding to fourth grade students in a school in Seattle.
Occasions like these are always a good time for tech companies to emphasize their leading position in the industry, while also giving back to society. Microsoft, of course, has always been a staunch supporter of the movement, and this year, it seems they have also done a great job.
Further reading: Code.org, Computer Science, Hour Of Code, Microsoft, Minecraft, Mojang