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Annual Hour of Code, during Computer Science Education Week, encourages educators and students to participate in one hour of coding

hour-of-codeComputer science skills have enjoyed more time in the spotlight as educators, policymakers and celebrities tout the importance of coding and programming skills. This year’s Hour of Code reinforces computer science’s growing importance.

The Hour of Code asks students, teachers, and anyone who is interested to devote at least one hour to coding during Computer Science Education Week (Dec. 7-11).

Participants can choose from guided tutorials or can join in scheduled Hour of Code activities that education or community groups have organized.

According to Code.org, the group behind the Hour of Code, there will be 1 million more computer science jobs than students by 2020, based on Bureau of Labor Statistics projections. But activities like the Hour of Code can help more students sustain an interest in computer science.

Following are 9 resources to help students and educators participate in the Hour of Code during Computer Science Education Week.

1. Cartoon Network (CN) launched a series of free coding tutorials for kids featuring characters, scenes and sounds from its show We Bare Bears. The We Bare Bears tutorials and sample projects are the result of a new collaboration between CN and Scratch, a coding platform and online community that encourages children to create and share interactive stories, games and animations. CN collaborated with the Scratch team at the MIT Media Lab to encourage kids to learn more about science, technology, engineering, arts and math. Through the We Bare Bears tutorials, children learn to snap together Scratch’s graphical programming blocks to make characters move, jump, dance, talk and interact with one another. The tutorials encourage users to think critically and solve problems in order to bring the characters to life.

2. Nepris, a cloud-based social platform, will host eight live, interactive and virtual STEM sessions targeted to the Hour of Code. Teachers can sign up for their class of students to participate in sessions offered at various times during the week. Learn more here. Topics include careers in coding, an introduction to programming with Python, and Coding with Kids! by SmartStart.

3. Students, faculty and staff at the University of Central Florida are invited to attend UCF’s Hour of Code event, which this year will feature exclusive, behind-the-scenes footage of “Star Wars” movies and the computer coding that’s involved with creating the sci-fi films. Additional festivities will include Wonder Workshop’s CEO Vikas Gupta, completing a coding module on a smartphone, tablet, or laptop, and robotic challenges.

4. Apple will host a free hour-long introduction to computer programming for children ages 6 and older at Apple stores on Dec. 10.

5. Students can build a Star Wars-inspired galaxy on Code.org’s site through a partnership between Code.org and Disney.

6. Microsoft, Mojang AB, and Code.org teamed up to offer a free Minecraft coding tutorial for the Hour of Code. The tutorial introduces players ages 6 and older to basic coding contained within the popular game. The tutorial was created especially for students and educators.

7. The University of Colorado Boulder is offering a number of in-person and online Hour of Code activities, including a focus on robots and 3D game creation. Browse and register here.

8. PBS KIDS released its first coding app, called PBS KIDS ScratchJr. Kids can create their own interactive stories and games featuring characters from Wild Kratts, Nature Cat, WordGirl and Peg + Cat. The app is designed for kids ages 5-8.

9. Tynker offers coding activities for elementary and middle school students. Students can create programmatic drawings, code a car to navigate an obstacle course, solve coding puzzles, and more.

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Laura Ascione

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