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Kiwi student mixing it with IT giants

05 Dec 13

A University of Waikato PhD student will take part in a global computer coding exercise backed by some of the biggest technology names in the world.

Michael Walmsley, who established Hamilton-based coding website CodeAvengers.com in 2012, has been asked to take part in the global Hour of Code campaign, scheduled to take place during the international Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek) from December 9 to 15.

It is being overseen by code.org, a not for profit website and organisation which aims to get more people interested in computer science.

Founded by entrepreneur Hadi Partovi, the website is backed by people such as Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Google senior vice president Susan Wojcicki and Twitter creator Jack Dorsey.

CSEdWeek is an annual worldwide push to advocate computer science awareness and education and code.org will promote the Hour of Code, along with providing free, self-guided one-hour tutorials from tech start-ups such as Code Avengers, Tree House, CodeCadamy and CodeHS.

Partovi says the Hour of Code campaign will launch a “long-term mission to give every student the opportunity to learn computer science”.

“This isn't just about the tremendous job opportunities in software,” he says. “Every 21st century child can benefit from learning this foundational field.”

Walmsley met Partovi at a Boston conference earlier this year and was invited to submit one hour CodeAvengers lessons to the project.

“It’s an amazing event to be a part of,” Walmsley says. “Working with other passionate tech founders to teach coding to the world is incredible.”

For the Hour of Code campaign CodeAvenger lessons, which are normally in English, are being translated into several other languages, including Spanish, French, Dutch, Portuguese and Turkish.

Since it was launched in April 2012, Walmsley’s CodeAvengers.com website is now used in more than 1000 schools in 30 countries.

The site teaches students programming languages such as Java Script, HTML and CSS which are required to build websites and apps.

CodeAvengers also runs Code Camps around the world to promote coding to the absolute beginner. CEO Steve Hopkins says writing programmes to drive websites and mobile apps has become a global phenomenon.

“It’s a unique approach that’s not been done before in many countries," he says.

In January next year, Code Camps are scheduled for the University of Waikato from 8-10 January and in Singapore on 17, 18 January and 24, 25 January.

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