Microsoft supports youth coding with Minecraft-based tutorial

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Twenty years ago, video games were more likely to distract students from extra-curricular activities rather than convince them to get involved in study. Thankfully, organizers and contributors have gotten far better at using video games to convince children and young adults that such activities are worthy of their time.

As part of this week’s Hour of Code, Microsoft has created a programming tutorial that uses characters from hit video game Minecraft. Schools will be able to access the content via a web browser, without installing the game or any other content on a local system, according to a report from the New York Times.

This year will mark the third annual Hour of Code event, which is set to be the biggest yet. Last year, President Obama held a coding event at the White House and a Frozen-themed tutorial headlined the learning materials used to tempt kids into pursuing computer science.

Disney will once again be represented this year, as the event’s organizers announced earlier this month that characters from Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be used in a tutorial. Between Star Wars and Minecraft, it’s clear that children taking part will have a host of familiar faces in store.

Brothers Hadi and Ali Partovi co-founded the Hour of Code in 2013, soon gaining support from industry bigwigs such as Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. The organization uses games, pop culture characters, and alternative programming languages to make coding accessible to the widest possible audience.

While the Hour of Code focuses on school students, its broader goal is to encourage more interest in computer science and related subjects among all ages. Whether you’re still in school or a little older, check out the event’s website to find out more about how to get involved.