THE BLOG
12/09/2014 09:27 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

What is the Hour of Code?

You may vaguely remember hearing something about the Hour of Code last year.  You may even be able put a face to the event, like that of Chris Bosh, Ashton Kutcher, or Hadi Partovi, but it's hard to deny that it has become so much more in 2014.

This year, the world is expected to surpass 100 million users who have been introduced to programming thanks to this exuberant campaign spearheaded by Code.org.

The CEO of Code.org, Hadi Partovi, says that the Hour of Code is "a grassroots movement that includes nearly two-hundred partners," many of whom work tirelessly to bring high quality programming experiences to the public, one hour at a time.

But what is the Hour of Code?

The Hour of Code is an initiative that takes place during CSEd Week (the second week of December) where everyone is encouraged to try programming for at least one hour. The idea behind the movement is very similar to getting a child to try a new food.  Someone may think that they don't have a taste for programming, but a great first experience might chance their mind.

How do I participate in the Hour of Code?

How you try the Hour of Code is really up to you.  There are dozens of resources available at HourofCode.com, including art with Anna and Elsa, JavaScript for beginners, and a handful of "unplugged" activities by Thinkersmith that require ZERO access to technology or the Internet.

While the activities on the Hour of Code site have been tried and tested to make sure that they are fun, free, and foundational, you are by no means limited to those examples. The goal is to spread the programming experience far and wide, in an entertaining and non-threatening way.

What if I want to go beyond an hour?

Fantastic!  There are several free resources for classroom teachers, after school programs, and summer camps to keep the mojo going. Many of those resources are linked here, but you should also browse the web a bit, because more options are being added every day.  You might even be able to get in on a free online course--or perhaps a free degree program--and pass the knowledge along.

None of this is to imply that the Hour of Code exists purely to turn everyone into a computer scientist.  Its urgency is tied much more to the need for the citizens of the future to understand problem solving and logic, as well as to cultivate the the ability for people to create twenty-first century tools that combat complicated issues.

As a student, parent, or educator, you don't need to commit to a life of programming.  Just try one hour of coding and see where it leads.  Who knows, you just might like it.