Code.org, a non-profit organization that provides free online tailored coding lessons for children in kindergarten all the way up to high school, recently held its annual Hour of Code event. In conjunction with the yearly event, Code.org introduced a new tutorial, Star Wars: Building a Galaxy with Code.

 

Last year, the Code.org tutorials featured Princess Elsa of "Frozen," which was completed 13 million times. This year, the new tutorial will feature characters from the Star Wars film franchise; from Princess Leia R2-D2 and C-3PO to Rey and BB-8, who will both star in the upcoming "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," to better introduce children into the world of computer programming. In the tutorial, kids will play either as Princess Leia or Rey and will instruct the bots to collect materials using the codes that they've written.

All of the commands needed to move the bots are already listed as blocks and all that's needed are for children to drag and drop them to create a chain of commands. After the basic course with blocks is completed, Javascript, which involve BB-8's materials, will then be introduced. If the written code fails, the stage will reset. If they succeed, they'll be able to proceed to the next stage. Needless to say, the coding gradually intensifies as the level gets higher. The tutorial is meant to be taken by children who are 11 years old and above. Nevertheless, it's never too late or too early to learn the basics of coding.

"One of the most important things for us is to make computer science more popular, to broaden participation and get students of all ages and all backgrounds to give it a shot," says Code.org CEO Hadi Partovi. "Having these two strong heroines with the robots is a great message, and the type of diversity we're trying to spread."

Code.org has been successful in its endeavors to introduce young minds into computer programming. There are currently 5 million students who have registered on Code.org. Three million of them are boys and the other two million are girls. Moreover, two million are either Hispanic or African American.

The incorporation of Star Wars heroines was made possible by Code.org's partnership with Lucasfilm, which Disney now owns. Disney pledged $100,000 to help the non-profit organization expand its reach and cover more schools across the United States.

"Computer science impacts every industry — from marketing to healthcare to film" saiysLucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy.

Code.org also has support of some big names in the tech industry — Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. U.S. President Barack Obama also expressed his support for Code.org. Recode reports that the nonprofit was able to raise $10 million due to the support shown by several prominent backers, including those mentioned above. 

Speaking to Carmel DeAmicis, Hadi Partovi revealed that starting Dec. 7, a week prior to the theatrical debut of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," schools will begin introducing Hour of Code. Below is an Hour of Code introductory video, which explains details of the Star Wars: Building a Galaxy with Code turtorial.

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