17 Nov 2015
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Microsoft and Code.org tap Minecraft to get kids coding

By Heather Wright

Microsoft, Code.org and Mojang AB have unveiled a Minecraft coding tutorial for students and educators, hoping to encourage youngsters to get hooked on coding via the hugely popular game.

Created for the third annual global Hour of Code in December, the new tutorial is designed for ages six and up and introduces players to basic coding within the Minecraft environment. It was created by Minecraft game designers together with Code.org.

The tutorial features Steve and Alex from Minecraft, and Minecraft-inspired challenges which will be familiar to the games more than 100 million players worldwide.

Players are introduced to basic coding skills, encouraging them to navigate, mine, craft and explore in a 2D Minecraft world bu plugging together blocks to complete all actions and generate computer code.

Fourteen challenges are included, along with free play time, to explore coding concepts learned from the tutorial.

Satya Nadella, Microsoft chief executive officer, says the tutorial aims to spark creativity in the next generation of innovators in a way that is natural, collaborative and fun.

Hadi Partovi, Code.org chief executive and co-founder, says the 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.

More than 100 million students across 180 countries and 40 languages have participated in the Hour of Code, a campaign to broaden global participation in computer science.

This year, the campaign expects to exceed 100,000 events during December 07−13 and to continue introducing more girls and underrepresented students to computer science.

A landscape of 1915 Gallipoli, created in Minecraft by students from Alfriston College, has been on display at Auckland War Memorial Museum this year. 

Meanwhile, for those more interested in Star Wars Disney and Lucasfilm are also supporting Hour of Code, with a Star Wars: The Force Awakens tutorial.

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