November 14, 2017 | Hour of Code
It’s hard to believe a year has passed since we launched Minecraft: Education Edition! To date, we have reached more than two million licensed users in 115 countries, and offer over 250 free lesson plans across subject areas created by educators in our global community. We are particularly excited about the ways in which Minecraft can introduce students to coding through features like Code Builder and the Minecraft Hour of Code.
For the third consecutive year, Minecraft and Microsoft are proud to support Hour of Code in partnership with Code.org to help students learn the basics of coding. Working with Minecraft game designers, computer science educators, and Code.org’s learning designers, we have created a new Hour of Code tutorial called Minecraft: Hero’s Journey. Featuring both new and familiar Minecraft characters and fun coding challenges, the tutorial is free to use and available across devices.
As technology shapes our future, there is a growing need for students to build skills that will help them succeed in the 21st century workplace. 65% of elementary school students will work in jobs that don’t yet exist! Computer science gives students the tools they need not only to express themselves, but also to transform the way they think critically and solve complex problems. Coding empowers students to go from simply interacting with technology to building their own creations, including apps and games, and exploring STEM careers. Nearly 70 million Minecraft Hour of Code sessions have introduced coding concepts to people around the world, and we hope you’ll join us this year!
“Minecraft Hour of Code is a great opportunity to engage students with code in an environment that students are used to taking risks in – learning from their mistakes, and having fun doing it.” Dean Vendramin, Educator (Canada)
“Minecraft Hour of Code is a great opportunity to engage students with code in an environment that students are used to taking risks in – learning from their mistakes, and having fun doing it.”
Dean Vendramin, Educator (Canada)
The Minecraft Hour of Code tutorial is called Hero’s Journey and introduces a new character: the Minecraft Agent! Players write code that instructs the Agent to execute their commands and overcome in-game obstacles. The tutorial offers over 10 challenges where players will learn how to use loops, debugging, and functions.
Loops enable players to repeat a set of instructions until a certain condition has been reached.
Debugging enables players to test for errors and help determine the cause. Players are given a pre-built code and are challenged to identify how to change it so that they can direct the Agent to victory.
Functions enable players to combine many instructions into a single line of code, making it more efficient.
Minecraft player and creator Stacy Hinojosa, or StacyPlays on her YouTube channel, guides players through the tutorial alongside several Minecraft game developers to give players tips on how to use loops, debugging, and functions.
We also applied feedback from last year’s Hour of Code players, including requests for tougher puzzles. As a result, each level in the new Minecraft tutorial now comes with a Diamond Path, on which you can collect a diamond on each level by solving additional coding challenges, and free time to explore coding concepts through playing to deepen your understanding.
The Diamond Path is the coding road less traveled, but reaps more rewards!
No matter if you are 6 or 106, players of all ages and experience levels can use the Minecraft world to learn the basics of coding, and how to use problem solving and critical thinking to open new doors and achieve their goals. Now available in 28 languages, the tutorial is free, open to anyone, and available on any device. If your language is not available, you are invited to contribute here.
You do not need to be an expert to run an Hour of Code! Join us for a special webinar on November 16, 2017, to learn how to facilitate Hour of Code with Minecraft and receive a walkthrough of the new tutorial. Sign up today!
When you’re ready, sign up your school or class to run an Hour of Code workshop. You can use the free facilitator’s guide, quick tip sheet, and PowerPoint slides to lead your own Minecraft Hour of Code. All of the materials are available here.
Share your story! Tell us how you are using Minecraft Hour of Code in your learning environment. We’d love to give you a shout out, and elevate your story so that more educators and students can be inspired to unlock their coding potential. Post on Facebook or Twitter and make sure to mention “Minecraft #HourofCode.“
It doesn’t need to end there! Students can import their code into the full 3D Minecraft world via Minecraft: Education Edition or Minecraft on Windows 10, enabling more opportunities for students to bring their creations to life, deepening the connection between coding concepts and the rich worlds they can create. For more information, click here.
Where can I find more resources to teach computer science coding? To explore more ways to bring computer science to your community, visit https://www.microsoft.com/digitalskills.
“A few of our Global Minecraft Mentors have had a preview of this year’s Hour of Code: their input and enthusiasm to bring coding to their students makes this time of the year one of our favorites. I can’t wait to see how educators take the Hero’s Journey from Hour of Code to Minecraft: Education Edition.” Meenoo Rami, Manager, Minecraft Education
“A few of our Global Minecraft Mentors have had a preview of this year’s Hour of Code: their input and enthusiasm to bring coding to their students makes this time of the year one of our favorites. I can’t wait to see how educators take the Hero’s Journey from Hour of Code to Minecraft: Education Edition.”
Meenoo Rami, Manager, Minecraft Education
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