Skip to main content

Minecraft Hour of Code tutorial headlines Computer Science Education Week

minecraft hour of code tutorial updated 2016 version 1479203131 feature
Every year, various computing companies associated with help promote and manage the Hour of Code campaign aimed at inspiring students to learn how to program. The campaign is held during Computer Science Education Week and is usually successful in generating interest from students in considering careers in software development.

Microsoft’s Minecraft has been a significant part of the Hour of Code for a few years. This year, the company is working with to promote an updated coding tutorial dubbed Minecraft Hour of Code Designer will focus on how the ever-popular gaming title can be even more effective in showing kids how exciting coding can be.

Now that the Hour of Code has officially kicked off, Microsoft has made the Hour of Code Designer tutorial available for use. You can access it at, where you’ll find a complete tutorial that will walk you through creating your own Minecraft game.

The tutorial shows beginning coders how to create and share a simple Minecraft game and aims to provide anyone with the tools necessary for problem solving and critical thinking in an increasingly technology-oriented world. Microsoft is responding to U.S. Bureau of Statistics data that shows 1.4 million computing jobs will be generated just in the U.S. by 2020, while 40 percent of U.S. schools do not teach computer science at all.

Hour of Code - WORLDWIDE

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has been a supporter of Minecraft initiatives within Microsoft and he had some strong words to say in support of Minecraft’s involvement in Hour of Code. “We are partnering with again this year to make computer science more accessible to millions of youth around the world with Minecraft and Hour of Code. I am inspired by the Minecraft generation who view themselves not as players of a game, but as creators of the new worlds they dream up. This is the generation that will imagine, build and create our future, and together we can equip them with the computational thinking and problem-solving skills to seize the opportunities ahead.”

The Minecraft Hour of Code Designer tutorials are designed for anyone ages six and up and uses’s drag-and-drop coding interface to impart computer science concepts including object-oriented programming, event handlers, and repeat loops. The web-based tutorial is available for free at and is available in 10 languages with support for 50 languages by the event’s start date. There are 12 challenges for players to overcome, with the end result being a simple game that can be shared with other players.

As Mike Harvey, a technology teacher in Falmouth, Maine, puts it, “The 2016 Minecraft Hour of Code tutorial builds on the success of the original in a great way. By programming familiar game events themselves, learners will be able to experience computer science in a way that is authentic as well as fun. The open-ended challenges help to show that our favorite games (like Minecraft) are ultimately created with code.”

Computer Science Education Week runs December 5 through December 11 and Microsoft will be hosting events in more than 60 countries. Hundreds of free workshops will be hosted by Microsoft Stores in various regions and students can sign up for sessions by visiting Microsoft’s YouthSpark site. Minecraft has always been a great educational tool and it will become even more valuable with its formal inclusion in the Hour of Code initiative.

Updated on 12-5-2016 by Mark Coppock: Indicated that the Minecraft Hour of Code Designer is now available for use at

Editors' Recommendations

Mark Coppock
Mark has been a geek since MS-DOS gave way to Windows and the PalmPilot was a thing. He’s translated his love for…
Minecraft sells 10,000 copies per day — teaches computational thinking
minecraft 10000 copies per day education edition 7

For those not in the know, Minecraft is a bestselling open world game where players can explore and interact with a world of blocks (each carrying different attributes inside that world). The phenomena has spread far and wide, laying the foundation for one of the most creative digital playground in the world. A recent report from The New York Times reveals that the game is selling 10,000 copies per day. Considering that the game was first launched five years ago, that’s a very impressive sum.

Most games enjoy remaining relevant during a release window spanning no more than the first few months, which is when games tend to sell the most. Meanwhile, Minecraft has sold over 100 million units to date, helped in no small part to its availability on a multitude of platforms.

Read more
Teach your toddlers how to code with Cubetto, the wooden robot
cubetto kids coding primotoys93

The educational acronyms of the 21st century look a bit different from those of previous generations. The "Three R's" (which, confusingly enough, weren't even R's to begin with) have since largely been replaced by STEM, and parents of the newest generation are doing everything they can to better prepare their progeny for success in an increasingly digitized world.
Updated on 04-07-2016 by Lulu Chang: Cubetto finishes Kickstarter campaign as the most funded ed-tech project to date.
Key to that success appears to be an early start -- an extremely early start -- when it comes to learning important skills like computer programming and other technical talents. Here to help is Cubetto, and adorable little wooden robot that is specifically designed for pre-literate children ages 3 and older that teaches the basics of computer programming and STEM, sans screen. 
A true testament to just how much parents love their children (or want their children to be better than everyone else's children), Cubetto managed to raise over $300,000 from 1,420 backers within the first few days of its Kickstarter launch, and on April 7, it concluded its campaign by breaking records. Ultimately, the toy raised a stunning $1,596,458 from 6,553 backers, blowing past its original goal of just $100,000.
Part of the appeal, doubtless, is the truly delightful nature of the toy. Comprising a friendly wooden robot, a physical programming console (board) with a set of 16 colorful coding blocks, and a beautifully designed map and activity book, the Cubetto playset promises to create an equal learning environment that promotes inclusive play. It doesn't matter if your child is a boy or a girl, has a learning disability, or is non-sighted, the Cubetto combines movement, touch, and sound to get children excited about learning and, as a result, learning faster.
Essentially, Cubetto works by having children "program" using a series of colorful "coding blocks." In order to program the robot, simply slide different color blocks into the board, each of which is linked to a different command (like forward, left, right, or loops). The goal is to get Cubetto to move from one side of the console to the other, all by way of rudimentary computer programming.  

“Learning to program in early years is essential, but it should also be fun, playful, and age appropriate,” said Filippo Yacob, co-founder and CEO of Cubetto. “Our mission is to help children develop and realize their full creative potential. Cubetto is an open-ended toy that makes learning computer programming fun and easy to grasp. We’re proud to offer children ages three and up an inclusive, interactive playset that teaches them the basic concepts of programming before they learn to read or write.”
Randi Zuckerberg, one of the primary investors in Cubetto notes, "When I think about backing a product or a company, I ask myself, 'Would I want this product in my own home?' and 'Would I give this to my kids?'” Clearly, her answer is "yes." Zuckerberg went on to say that, "What I love most about Cubetto is that it will give girls and boys all over the world the opportunity to learn the basic building blocks of coding, without being glued to a computer screen. As a mom, that's my dream.”
If you'd like a Cubetto for yourself (or your children), you can currently pre-order one of these programming games for $195 on Kickstarter.

Read more
Study suggests women’s computer code is preferred, only if their gender is unknown
github gender bias coding

When justifying the conspicuous absence of women in tech, the most commonly offered explanation has always been lack of skill -- women are less interested in technology, they don't pursue it as often (or as early), so by extension, when it comes to job applications, there are fewer qualified women in the mix. How could engineering teams not be majority male? Well, a new study published on PeerJ pokes a pretty damning hole in that argument -- according to this research, women write better code than men on GitHub, or at the very least, their contributions are accepted more often by fellow coders. But this is only true when their gender is not known; once it's made apparent that a woman is behind the syntax, all bets are off. In fact, bets go down.

The study (which has not yet been peer reviewed), involved the analysis of nearly 1.4 million users of open source program-sharing site Github, a platform that is often referenced in job interviews among computer scientists. The 12 million strong developer community does not require that its users provide gender information, but researchers were able to determine the sex of about 1.4 million of them (12 percent), the BBC reports, "either because it was clear from the users' profiles or because their email addresses could be matched with the Google+ social network."

Read more