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Apple's 'Hour of Code' workshops take kids hands-on with coding

Apple on Wednesday held its "Hour of Code" youth workshops as part of Code.org's worldwide campaign to introduce computer science to children and teenagers. AppleInsider was able to attend a session at a North Carolina Apple Store.

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Apple's Hour of Code Youth Workshop in North Carolina.


Earlier today, about 11 kids filed into the Crabtree Valley Apple Store in North Carolina to learn a bit about coding in an event Apple billed as a "fun one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify code and show that anyone can learn the basics of programming."

Kicking things off was an introductory video featuring endorsements ranging from pop icons Ashton Kutcher and Carly Rae Jepson, to tech icons Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Drew Houston. After watching the short movie, iPads were
distributed with Safari opened to Code.org's website.

Apple Geniuses leading the workshop moved through a series of short lessons, getting assists along the way with videos from celebrities like NBA all-star Chris Bosh, who taught "Repeat Until" statements, to Mark Zuckerberg, who explained repeat loops.

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In short clips shown between code lessons, Microsoft's Bill Gates, Google engineer Tess Winlock and NASA engineer Bobak Ferdowski discussed how coding relates to their job. Adding to the interactive aspect of the lesson, the prominent figures explained how the code a student just wrote is applicable to the world, whether it's a website or the Mars rover.

Children progressed through the lessons at their own pace; moving an Angry Bird on top of a Pig or navigating a Zombie through a maze.

Lesson programming was similar to MIT Scratch or Google App Inventor language, where blocks are chained together to create programs. A "show code" link in the upper right of the lesson pane allowed students to review the Javascript being composed when they chained a set of blocks together.

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Screen grab of coding with Plants v. Zombies.


At the end of the session, each child completed 20 lessons of coding and received a digital certificate of completion suitable for posting on Twitter and Facebook, or for emailing and printing.

Interestingly, upon finishing the exercises, the teaching suite asked for the sex of each student. Aggregating answers, the site showed a breakdown of who completed the lessons thus far, with a 52 percent to 48 percent split in favor of girls.

It appears Apple's Hour of Code was a success, as attendees agreed the coding program was something they would like to continue at home.