Touting itself as the "largest learning event in history," the Hour of Code is gearing up for its 2015 kickoff, and millions of students are waiting on their moment to shine in front of a keyboard.
The one-hour computer programming activity is all about exposing learners — old and new — to computer science. Along the way, event organizers hope to close the gender gap in the computer science industry.
"Once students see what they create right before their eyes, they're empowered to keep going," according to the event's brochure.
With mere hours before the 2015 event's kickoff, more than 186,000 Hour of Code events have been scheduled at learning centers across the world — more than double that of last year’s 77,000 events.
New this year is a Minecraft-themed coding tutorial released by Microsoft in honor of this year's Hour of Code event. The program allows users to create blocks of preconfigured code with familiar characters from the popular world-building game.
"The new tutorial — now available at http://code.org/mc — introduces players to basic coding within the fun and familiar environment. Created by Minecraft game designers, the tutorial includes characters and challenges inspired by the game developed by Mojang and familiar to players around the world," according to a blog post by the Microsoft in Education team.
The Minecraft-themed tutorial goes well with other franchise-themed tutorials introduced last year, including characters from movies such as Star Wars, Frozen and Ice Age and video games such as Angry Birds and Plants vs. Zombies.
"If you have access to technology, the Hour of Code event is an ideal starting point for elementary teachers," wrote educator Brian Aspinall on his blog. "Students work away at their own pace, while receiving immediate feedback from the tool. It’s both fun and engaging and reinforces [geometry concepts]."
The excitement is building online, with students and teachers preparing for the week’s activities. Will you be joining in this year's legendary, worldwide coding session?
— Code.org (@codeorg) December 4, 2015
— Lisa Palmieri, Ph.D. (@Learn21Tech) December 4, 2015
— Code.org (@codeorg) November 30, 2015