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What’s Hour of Code and why do kids love it?

It doesn’t seem like the type of thing kids would be into. Coding? Really? But if you’re a parent whose child has gone through a session of Hour of Code, you know that kids love it.

So, what is Hour of Code. These are hour-long instructional sessions that give kids the opportunity to learn how the programs they’re using every day are designed. They’re like classes that take drivers into the mechanics of a car. Sure, you may feel like you don’t really need to know what makes a car go, as long as it goes. But Hour of Code lifts up the hood and shows kids how the apps they’re using are built and how they can build their own apps.

Hour of Code sessions have been taking place all over the country. Organizers and teachers say, kids can’t get enough of them. An Hour of Code session was held in Lincoln, Nebraska this past Saturday. The parents who brought their kids to the sessions, held at Innovation Campus, say they were eye opener for the kids and the adults who accompanied them.

“This is the life that they live,” Kathie Schoonveld, a parent, told KOLN 1011 Now. “They’re going to have this forever.”

What did the kids think?

“You can learn a lot a lot of stuff, more things that you don’t even know about, and then you just learn about it and you know how to do it and then you just keep doing it and it makes you smarter,” said Rosa Lavene, a child who attended One Hour of Code.

This week is the ideal time to find out more about Hour of Code sessions near you. Today is the start of Computer Science education Week, and thousands of events around computers and programming are taking place across the U.S. 

Hour of Code isn’t new. The first event took place in 2013. But it’s picked up steam and this year they’re aiming to help a billion kids around the world. Not bad considering the original aim was to reach 10 million participants.

The idea behind Hour of Code is to highlight how people can use computer science to make a positive impact on the world. The sessions don’t force kids into doing what they don’t like. Some decide to give writing an app a shot. Others may be interested in helping their local communities, so planners create a session around that. And some kids just like to think big, so Hour of Code could help them understand data and its uses to address global challenges like climate change or migration.

Some kids just like to play games. After all, they are kids. And that’s okay, too. The principle behind Hour of Code is to get them engaged in finding out what’s behind the video game production — so it doesn’t just appear to be a mystery that pops up on their screens.

In fact, Microsoft has come up with a new Minecraft Hour of Code called “AI for Good.” It’s for children seven and up. Kids can learn how to prevent forest fires by training a virtual agent to identify what causes fires and remove items that help fires spread. Kids can then use the coding techniques they learn to bring life back to a burned out forest. 

You can find out more about Hour of Code at hourofcode.com.

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