Microsoft, Mojang AB and Code.org today announced that a "Minecraft" coding tutorial for students and educators has been created for the third-annual Hour of Code, a campaign to broaden global participation in computer science, to be held during Computer Science Education Week, Dec. 7–13.
The new tutorial, now available here, introduces players to basic coding within the fun and popular "Minecraft" environment. Created by "Minecraft" game designers, together with Code.org, the tutorial features Steve and Alex from "Minecraft" and "Minecraft"-inspired challenges that will be familiar to the game's more than 100 million players around the world, Code.org said.
Minecraft is a game about placing blocks to build anything you can imagine, according to a description of the game on its Website. In September 2014, Microsoft announced a deal to buy Mojang and the ownership of the Minecraft intellectual property for $2.5 billion; the acquisition was completed in November 2014.
"A core part of our mission to empower every person on the planet is equipping youth with computational thinking and problem-solving skills to succeed in an increasingly digital world," Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, said in a statement. "With 'Minecraft' and Code.org, we aim to spark creativity in the next generation of innovators in a way that is natural, collaborative and fun."
Designed for ages six and up, the Minecraft tutorial introduces players to basic coding skills, encouraging them to navigate, mine, craft and explore in a 2D "Minecraft" world by plugging together blocks to complete all actions and generate computer code. Players are offered a set of 14 challenges, including free play time, to explore coding concepts they've learned through the tutorial.
"'Minecraft' is a special game that girls and boys alike often can't be pried away from," Code.org CEO and co-founder Hadi Partovi, said in a statement. "Microsoft continues to be Code.org's most generous donor and one of the largest supporters of the worldwide movement to give every student the opportunity to learn computer science. This year's 'Minecraft' 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."
To date, more than 100 million students across 180 countries and 40 languages have participated in the Hour of Code, including one in three students in U.S. schools. This year, the campaign expects to exceed 100,000 events and to continue introducing more girls and underrepresented students of color to this foundational 21st century field.
In support of Code.org and the global Hour of Code campaign, Microsoft will also lead thousands of Hour of Code events in more than 50 countries around the world, Partovi said in a blog post. Events will take place at Microsoft stores, offices and innovation centers as well as facilities of Microsoft's YouthSpark nonprofit partners and schools. They will be led by more than 7,000 Microsoft Student Partners, Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs) and employee volunteers. In addition, Microsoft is gifting Windows Store credit to every educator who organizes an Hour of Code event worldwide, he said.