Last year’s Hour of Code featured characters from “Frozen.” This year it’s Star Wars.
Code.org/Lucasfilm/DisneyWhat’s more exciting than making your own computer game? Why, making a Star Wars computer game, of course.
Code.org, a nonprofit organisation working to expand access to computer science, is bringing a sprinkle of Disney magic to its latest venture. Partnering with Disney and Lucasfilm, Code.org will kick off its Hour of Code event with a tutorial featuring characters from “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
The online lesson will teach kids how to build their own computer game and feature old favourites like Princess Leia, C-3PO and R2-D2, as well as new characters, Ray and BB-8. The tutorial will be available for free in 180 countries, translated into more than 400 languages and will be smartphone and tablet-friendly.
Code.org’s Hour of Code takes place every year during Computer Science Education Week, which this year is 7-13 December. The goal is to get as many people as possible to commit to an hour of coding, even US President Barack Obama participated last year. The nonprofit hopes the event will introduce more people to coding and raise awareness about the importance of computer science education.
The majority of schools in the US still do not offer any kind of computer science lessons, according to Code.org. Since its launch last year, more than 5 million students from around the world have enrolled in the Code.org’s online platform, including 10 percent of all K-8 students in the US.
One particular aim of Code.org is to introduce more girls to coding. Women held just 26 percent of computing jobs in the US in 2014, according to the National Center for Women and Information Technology. Technology companies have promised to address their lack of diversity, but progress has been slow.
Code.org said 43 percent of its members are girls. In 2014, the Hour of Code tutorial featured characters Anna and Elsa from Disney’s “Frozen,” and was completed more than 13 million times. Star Wars has a cross-generational appeal, but the lead female characters who appear in the 2015 tutorial may draw in girls in a similar way that “Frozen” did.
“For generations, Star Wars has sparked kids’ curiosity and imagination, and we hope the appeal of characters like Princess Leia and Rey will help fuel greater participation in science and math, especially among girls, around the world,” said Kathleen Kennedy, Lucasfilm president, in a statement on Monday.