After a lot of hard work from too many individuals and organisations to name, the Hour of Code is almost upon us! Anyone who has been following this blog closely over the last couple of months will know how excited about we are about this event, which forms part of Computer Science Week over December 8th to 14th.
The Hour of Code really is for anyone, and us here at Microsoft will be taking part as well! We believe that an understanding of coding is an essential skill in the 21st century, and as part of our One Microsoft vision, we’re encouraging everyone – even those in non-technical roles - to take part in the Hour of Code. We will be hosting a series of simultaneous events across our UK locations, and encouraging all Microsoft employees taking part in the Hour of Code to post the most creative picture they can of themselves completing a tutorial. If you want to see what we all look like while we’re taking part in the Hour of Code, then you can track our photos on Twitter by keeping an eye out for the #msukhourofcode hashtag from Monday 8th December onwards.
As mentioned in previous blogs, we’ve enlisted the help of some familiar faces and fictional characters to help make the Hour of Code tutorials as engaging and interactive as possible for the younger minds we’re trying to capture and inspire with this initiative. Learning to code is as much about the mind-set as it is the skill, and that is what we’re hoping to achieve by encouraging millions of people to try just an hour of coding with these tutorials. And that is reflected in the nature of the exercises…
The overwhelming majority of children – and parents – should be familiar with the objective of Angry Birds: use the bird to squash the pig. In our Hour of Code Angry Birds tutorial, that is exactly what you have to do. But instead of catapulting the bird using a touch screen, you need to use the basics of coding to create a script that will allow the bird to navigate the obstacles to reach its porcine foe. By adding a fun and familiar element to the Hour of Code tutorials, children use their brains in a way that makes them think about how they can map out the processes required to complete the goal.
Once they have completed the various levels of the Angry Birds segment of the tutorial, they can put their newfound skills into practice with an exercise featuring another much loved kids’ character – Scrat from Ice Age!
If you are a parent or teacher who wants to help inspire a generation of children by giving them an introduction to coding, then it isn’t too late to organise your own Hour of Code event! Or simply get your students and children to complete the Angry Birds tutorial!