Microsoft, Minecraft-creator Mojang and Code.org have today unveiled a ‘Minecraft’ coding tutorial for students and educators, created especially for the third-annual Hour of Code, a campaign to broaden global participation in computer science, held during Computer Science Education Week, 7 to 13 December 2015.
The new tutorial is now available at Code.org here, and, according to the companies, ‘introduces players to basic coding within the fun and popular Minecraft environment.’
The tutorial was created by Minecraft’s game designers with Code.org, and features Steve and Alex from Minecraft and Minecraft-inspired challenges that will be familiar to its more than 100 million players around the world.
Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO said: “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. 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."
Designed for ages 6 and up, the ‘Minecraft’ tutorial introduces players to basic coding skills, encouraging them to navigate, mine, craft and explore in a 2-D ‘Minecraft’ world by plugging together blocks to complete all actions and generate computer code. Players are offered a set of 14 challenges, including free play time, to explore coding concepts they've learned through the tutorial.
Code.org CEO and Co-founder Hadi Partovi said: “Minecraft is a special game that girls and boys alike often can't be pried away from.
“Microsoft continues to be Code.org's most generous donor and one of the largest supporters of the worldwide movement to give every student the opportunity to learn computer science. This year's Minecraft tutorial will empower millions of learners around the world to explore how a game they love actually works and will inspire them to impact the world by creating their own technology or apps."
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To date, more than 100 million students across 180 countries and 40 languages have participated in the Hour of Code, including one in three students in U.S. schools. This year, the campaign expects to exceed 100,000 events during 7-13 December in the US and ‘to continue introducing more girls and underrepresented students of colour to this foundational 21st century field.’
In support of Code.org and the global Hour of Code campaign, Microsoft says it will also ‘lead thousands of Hour of Code events in more than 50 countries around the world. Events will take place at Microsoft stores, offices and innovation centres as well as facilities of Microsoft's YouthSpark nonprofit partners and schools.'
'They will be led by over 7,000 Microsoft Student Partners, Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs) and employee volunteers. In addition, Microsoft is gifting Windows Store credit to every educator who organises an Hour of Code event worldwide.’
In 2014, the Hour of Code had Apple Stores as a partner, and was even being promoted by US President Barack Obama, with the news announcing last year’s event here and my review of the Apple Store Hour of Code experience here, along with links to Code Clubs that Australian kids can join and learn from.