“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.”

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 2D 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.

“‘Minecraft’ is a special game that girls and boys alike often can’t be pried away from,” said Code.org CEO and Co-founder Hadi Partovi. “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.”

“By creating a virtual world and then advancing in it, students can learn digital citizenship, empathy, social skills and even improve their literacy – while getting real time feedback on their problem solving skills from the teacher,” said By Anthony Salcito, vice president, Microsoft Education, in a blog post about the announcement.

“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. Learning computer science builds critical skills like computational thinking and problem solving that strengthen abilities in any industry and any sector,” he wrote.

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 Dec. 7−13 and to continue introducing more girls and underrepresented students of color to this foundational 21st century field.

In support of Code.org and the global Hour of Code campaign, Microsoft 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 centers 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 organizes an Hour of Code event worldwide.

Material from a press release was used in this report.