Where does the time go? Another twelve months have flown by, and we suddenly find ourselves preparing for C… No! Not Christmas! For goodness sake, it doesn't even feel cold yet! We're talking about Coding - more specifically, the Hour of Code.
While STEM skills are for life, and not just for Christmas, it's always good to have a focal point or groundswell of activity to get things started or celebrate, and this is exactly what the Hour of Code is all about. In 2014 alone, 60 million students tried the Hour of Code, and this year it is back with some fantastic new tutorials and ways to get involved.
Why learn to code?
The teaching of computer science and computational thinking in the UK - and worldwide - is becoming more and more important, with digital skills being increasingly sought after by employers. In the words of Anthony Salcito, Worldwide VP for Education at Microsoft:
"As technology has become an integral part of people's daily lives around the world, we're seeing a growing demand - from students, parents, teachers, governments, and nonprofits - to teach youth not only how to use technology, but also how to create technology to help them become the innovators and drivers of growth and opportunity in their communities."
Minecraft and the Hour of Code
One area in which we continue to see some cross-curricular innovation is the use of Minecraft to bridge STEM learning with other subjects. This year we are thrilled to be contributing to the Hour of Code with a Minecraft tutorial!
The new tutorial - now available at http://code.org/mc - introduces players to basic coding within the fun and familiar environment. Created by Minecraft game designers, the tutorial includes characters and challenges inspired by the game developed by Mojang and familiar to players around the world.
As part of next week's Hour of Code activities we also have some special events planned which we will share more on in due course, but there are several ways in which you can get involved - as a teacher, parent or student. Anyone can volunteer to lead a coding workshop, or if you want to advocate for more computer science education in our schools you can add your voice to the thousands that are already calling for it.
For more information about the Hour of Code, please visit Code.org to read about the history and achievements of this movement, as well as gain access to a host of fantastic tutorials and resources.