Code.org is expecting more than 15 million kids to participate in its “Hour of Code” programming event this December. It may get even more with help from Anna and Elsa, the heroines of Disney’s mega hit “Frozen.”
Under a new partnership with Disney Interactive being announced today, the flagship tutorial this year will feature Anna and Elsa teaching introductory programming concepts.
The basic code kids will write in the “Artist with Anna & Elsa” tutorial will enable Anna and Elsa to draw snowflakes and snowmen and perform “ice craft,” according to a release from Code.org.
Disney Interactive — the group behind the “Disney Infinity” game, from which the tutorial drew versions of Anna and Elsa — is also donating $100,000 to Code.org and hosting “Hour of Code” events at its offices in Seattle, Los Angeles, Palo Alto and Kelowna, B.C.
“Disney Interactive shares Code.org’s passion to unleash the creative potential within all of us and we’re proud that the Disney characters will help children grow and learn important skills,” Jimmy Pitaro, Disney Interactive president, said in a release. “Computer science and coding literacy are vital to our children’s future and we applaud Code.org for making computer science education more widely available.”
Code.org is a Seattle-based nonprofit led by former Microsoft manager Hadi Partovi. It’s working to introduce programming to more children and bring computer-science classes to more schools. It provides free, online tools for schools to host “Hour of Code” introductory sessions, particularly during Computer Science Education week, from Dec. 8-14.
Support for Code.org has come from an A-list of technology companies and individuals, including Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Ballmer and others. Celebrities and other role models are helping out by narrating tutorials and video lectures; this year’s lineup includes Polyvore Chief Executive Jess Lee, Microsoft engineer Paola Mejia and models Karlie Kloss and Lyndsey Scott.
Last year’s flagship tutorial revolved around video games, with cameos by “Plants vs. Zombies” and “Angry Birds.”
Will boys be as enthused about Anna and Elsa? Perhaps, according to Code.org spokeswoman Roxanne Emadi.
“If you see all the sing-alongs and crazy Frozen-ness, it’s not only for girls,” she said, adding that “there’s crossover appeal … it’s cool that you can write your own program, see the art you make and the share it.”
If boys still fuss, teachers could tell them they’ll be using “Call of Disney: Advanced Kidfare.”