Hour of Code is a completely free service that provides over 170 different tutorials to explore. The website targets age groups starting at pre-readers, and up to grade 9+. The programming language can be as simple as blocks, or as complex as Python and C++, and the lessons are available in over 45 languages. Young people in more than 180 countries have tried One Hour Code, so I decided to try it too.
My experience in coding is limited, but existent. I took a handful of programming courses several years ago when I was still majoring in Computer Science. I never went too deeply into a specific language, but I understand coding logic.
I first tried Hour of Code at a grade 9+ level. Coders Strike Back is an activity that asks you to guide an animated racer across four continuous points. You choose your programming language, so there is plenty of room to learn and experiment. I quickly realized I was rustier than I imagined, as the racer remained motionless in response to my coding efforts. I admitted defeat.
Changing pace, I dropped into a grade 6+ tier tutorial for designing a platforming video game starring a 2D monkey. Code Monkey’s Game Builder starts coders out slowly with increasingly in-depth levels. You begin the lesson with tasks like ‘move the monkey to the end of the screen,’ which acclimate you to the coding language and how to use commands. By the end of the tutorial, you are adding sound effects, creating obstacles, and changing how your character interacts with the environment. Most importantly, it’s fun! I did the entire hour and finished my optional ‘bonus objectives!’
After completing the entire lesson, I felt like I wanted to experiment with other activities. Hour of Code had served its purpose—I wanted to become a better programmer. There are so many activities available at the website, and they’re all free! The brilliance of this is the opportunity for children and students to discover new interests and talents. Once the seed is planted, countless doors are opened. Even the smallest curiosity can grow into a fulfilling career, when encouraged.
In exchange for free lessons and inspiration, Hour of Code asks only that users spread the word. Share your experience in #HourOfCode with friends on Twitter and Facebook. The site also provides email templates to promote the program across schools, workplaces, and communities. Hour of Code aims to get everyone involved.
PSW challenges readers to spend at least one hour of time trying an activity, then share your experience in some way, so we continue to learn and grow as a community. Try Hour of Code here.