Teaching computer science skills such as coding and programming is becoming a top priority in many K-12 schools.
As computers continue to become more advanced, the need for employees skilled in computer science continues to grow.
In order to encourage more students to participate in computer science education, Microsoft developed its Hour of Code initiative, a one-hour introduction to computer science designed to teach students the basics of coding.
“There is a lack of diversity within the tech industry today, and many of today’s young people are not actively involved in computer science education to learn valuable skills to get ahead for tomorrow,” said a representative of Microsoft in an email interview. “Microsoft is working with governments, schools, businesses and nonprofit organizations to encourage new tech talent and build a diverse and inclusive pipeline of up-and-coming innovators.”
In partnership with the Microsoft YouthSpark initiative, Microsoft stores host numerous programs for youth meant to teach students STEM skills through hands-on technology learning.
Just last week, 110 Microsoft stores hosted free in-store workshops for youth ages eight and older in honor of Computer Science Education Week (Dec. 7-13). These workshops provided youth with the opportunity to learn how to code and program through a Minecraft-inspired tutorial.
“Minecraft developers and game designers worked with Code.org to develop the Minecraft game-inspired tutorial to introduce players to basic computer coding concepts,” said a representative of Microsoft in an email response. “The Minecraft tutorial introduces players to basic computer coding concepts, allowing them to navigate, mine, craft and explore in a 2D Minecraft world by plugging together blocks to complete all actions and generate computer code.”
According to Microsoft, Minecraft is used by more than 7,000 teachers in over 40 countries to help students of all ages learn about physics, coding, and programming.
Providing students with game-based learning opportunities can help spark their interest in learning concepts that may be considered intimidating and complicated. Popular games such as Minecraft entice students to learn about computer science through a familiar and fun gaming experience.
Initiatives like the Hour of Code workshops help kids around the world learn computer and technical skills that may one day make a significant impact on the world.
“This is the third year that Microsoft has partnered with Code.org and we’ve seen continued excitement from the local community year after year for our Hour of Code workshops,” said Eliza Mulcahy, community development specialist for the Microsoft store at the Prudential Center, in an email response. “Everyone seems really excited to have the local opportunity to get involved in this global event and we’re thrilled to provide this fun and interactive tech learning experience during Computer Science Education Week and all year round.”