The Hour Of Code

This is Computer Science Education Week. Two years ago, the folks at organized something called the Hour of Code to help celebrate CS Ed Week. The idea was to encourage schools, students, and really anyone to spend one hour writing code during this week. That first year roughly 10mm people did an hour of code. Two years later, during this week, almost 200,000 different groups will do an Hour Of Code, meaning that something like 50mm people will spend an hour writing code this week.

The point of this is not to turn 50mm people into software engineers. The point is to demystify computer science, make it seem approachable, and most of all encourage schools and students to do more with computer science. The Hour Of Code is the gateway drug to a more comprehensive computer science effort in schools.

I have spent much of this week in NYC schools and with students celebrating CS Ed Week and the Hour Of Code. I thought I would share some of my favorite moments. As you look at these pictures, what I most want you to see is what our software engineers will look like in the near future.

This is Luna Ruiz, a 17 year old student at the Academy Of Software Engineering explaining why she likes coding to Hadi Partovi, the founder of, at an event at the Apple Store in NYC on Tuesday:

This is a classroom in Ditmas Park Brooklyn (central brooklyn) doing an hour of code:

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This is a young man explaining to the School Chancellor Carmen Farina why free software is better than expensive software (possibly my favorite moment of the week):

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This is me and Amina Dualeh (a 12th grader at AFSE) ringing the opening bell at the Nasdaq yesterday:

This is a map of all the schools in Brooklyn. The green ones are the ones that did an Hour Of Code this week. If Brooklyn was its own school district it would be one of the top three or four school districts in the country.


If you want your students to have this on their whiteboard this week but have not yet done an Hour Of Code I have a suggestion for you.

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If you are a teacher, check out this page on how to get going with an Hour Of Code in your school. It’s actually really easy to do.

#hacking education

Comments (Archived):

  1. LIAD

    Gone Global…

    1. fredwilson

      Absolutely. It’s in every country now

  2. jason wright

    where are the chromebooks i keep reading about in US education?

    1. Matt Zagaja

      When I was in school Apple completely owned the education space. Everything was Apple and I was a hardcore Windows user. Never knew Chromebooks in education were a thing.

  3. William Mougayar

    The global reach is equally impressive, with close to 200,000 events, reaching 180 countries in 40 languages.

    1. Jess Bachman

      Truly! Scale, achevied.

    2. Tom Labus

      Any thing going on in the Mid East? They could use it

  4. Mike Zamansky

    That map of Brooklyn is great — +1000 to Rob Underwood and his team.

    1. fredwilson

      Rob did an amazing job with that

      1. Rob Underwood

        Thank you Mike and Fred though it must be said it was both of you who helped spark all of this.CodeBrooklyn is a totally volunteer “everyone is a leader” campaign. Knowing I will surely miss someone, these folks are BP Eric Adams and his team Jeff, Ryan and Stefan; fellow CEC13 member Ed Brown; Gordon and the whole team from Codesters; Mary Ellen, Rashidat, Ben, and Tara from NPower; Deborah and Joey of #NYCEDU; Nathaniel of TEALS; the Brooklyn Superintendents, especially Karen Watts, Michael Prayor, and Barbara Freeman; Community Board 6; Leigh Ann and Michael from CSNYC; and, especially David Gitman who did the reporting and analytics.From memory – and I am certain to miss a few – here are just some of the companies and organizations that have sent volunteers or hosted events for Brooklyn schools: Microsoft, Google, Twitter, IBM, WorkMarket, Hopscotch, Tata, Accenture, Stack Overflow, Ernst & Young, Infosys, the College Board, General Assembly, NYU-Tandon, the Hillary Clinton campaign, and AIESEC.Here is a note from an IBM volunteer I liked:”We hit a homerun! For 90 minutes, 7 IBMers worked with 28 really excited third graders. The event began with our explaining IBM and our contributions – and when we mentioned Watson on Jeopardy, a few students asked if computers can really talk. Each volunteer then introduced him or herself plus touched on why coding is important. We then moved into the Star Wars game – each IBMer worked with 4 students. Majority of students finished all 15 puzzles and were then rewarded with an IBM Certificate recognizing their participation in ‘Hour of Code.'”I suspect the teacher will be requesting we return. And all seven volunteers including myself have already raised their hands for another school. Today’s event =impactful”

  5. awaldstein

    This is the good stuff.Congrats to all who put this together as it most certainly takes a city to make this happen.

  6. JimHirshfield


  7. laurie kalmanson

    #becauseawesome — you and the many people you’ve mobilized are showing kids who might not otherwise see it what the future looks like

  8. JLM

    .Well played, Fred.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  9. Twain Twain

    Bravo to all the students and teachers involved with Code.Org and ‘Hour of Code’.*

  10. John Pepper

    Add tiny town of Norwich VT to that map. Was really excited to see the note from my daughters’ teachers earlier this week.

  11. Emily Steed

    Hour of Code is fantastic! My kids did it in Brooklyn yesterday and we spent the night on the website coding until 9 pm! It was so fun. We were all hooked on figuring out how to code the princess to skate in the shape of a snowflake. Brilliant initiative. And that map is wonderful – the image says more than 1,000 words. The posters are all over our school and every kid in the neighborhood was wearing their stickers yesterday. Love to see proud girl-coders.

    1. Rob Underwood

      So great to hear. If you didn’t get oneof the CodeBrooklyn posters as well let me know and we will get you one. Rob(at)

  12. Matt Zagaja

    At the Berkman Center we have a weekly fellows hour (which is really two hours) and so another fellow and I spent an hour teaching those who didn’t know how to code some basics and gave them a tutorial in writing in Markdown. Afterwards I determined it is 100x easier to learn to code than to teach coding. My hats off to all that do it professionally.

    1. LE

      Depends on the student. Teaching is difficult but there are definitely people that don’t have the aptitude to code [1] just like not everyone can play a musical instrument or be an artist. Additionally coding is one of those things that can easily be learned on your own [2] and some people are better at learning that way as opposed to in a classroom. By “doing”, experimenting and not having to follow a lesson plan or listen to a teacher. Self taught coders are all over the place and it’s easier today than it ever was.[1] Anybody who is good with computers has heard the silly “I’m not good at these things” giggle from people who have a mental block and reduced comprehension of all things IT.[2] As opposed to karate let’s say.

  13. kirklove

    var hoc = “Yesssssssssss”;

  14. Ken Skinner

    While there is debate on the efficacy of learning styles or modalities it appeals to my common sense that the easiest way to learn to code is visually rather than with the use of esoteric characters or languages. My sister is a teacher in a rough neighborhood of Toronto and she runs the Coding Club and they did “Hour of Code” using Vizwik ( It is an easy to learn and use visual programming language intended to bring digital literacy to everyone, not just those who choose to study CS. My sister’s students responded very well to the program and she seems pretty excited about it. Check it out!

  15. Kirsten Lambertsen

    8 yo son and I did the hour of code yesterday with the new Minecraft Hour Of Code was brilliant and totally made him feel good about his ability to understanding coding and make things.Today 6 yo daughter will tackle it.

    1. Twain Twain

      When I’m a “proper” grown-up like you, I’m going to do exactly what you’re doing with your kids and code, :*).

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Don’t wait – do the MC HoC today. It’s fun, relaxing and enlightening 🙂

    2. fredwilson

      that’s a great suggestion on how to easily do the hour of code.

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        It even plays the iconic music while you’re coding. So much fun.

  16. Jason Whitman

    My 7-year-old (second grade) designed a boat with Google SketchUp and printed it on a 3D printer. Pretty amazing stuff. Not really coding, but really technical and awesome.

  17. Max Horstmann

    Hour of Code is a fantastic initiative! Schools need more funding for proper CS education, and they need it fast – not just “within the next 10 years”. Here are a few thoughts I shared on this from a volunteer’s perspective:

    1. Rob Underwood

      As an elected member of CEC 13, the district in which McKinney Secondary School exists, thank you! As one of the organizers of CodeBrooklyn, a double thank you!!Regarding your “within the next 10 years” and blog post (which is great), I think two strategies are needed – top down and bottom up.There needs to be a plan that makes sure all schools and all kids get CS and that means all schools need least 2-3 teachers trained to teach CS. That’s why programs like CS4ALL exists. We need top down.If a school (i.e., principal), or even just a teacher, is ready to teach CS they should be given the opportunity. They should not have to wait. That’s where bottom up comes in. They should have the resources to start today. Hence the new foundation I’m helping put together, and which was officially launched yesterday. Take a look at…Finally, I really hope you’ll come back to McKinney Secondary School again soon.

  18. pointsnfigures

    This is great. Too bad it wasn’t a bullish day on the day you opened the market! I am in New Orleans and this is what one museum is doing to help kids with STEM: http://www.nationalww2museu… I made the suggestion to figure out how to integrate the Hour of Code with the resources the museum has to bridge generations.

  19. ShanaC

    I’m around if you want me to stop by your school!

  20. Alan Wells

    We did hour of code in my wife’s 2nd grade classroom for the 3rd year today, and as usual it was a blast! Always surprised by how quickly the students pick up basic coding concepts. Favorite exercises for this age group are the Angry Birds coding game on and the CargoBot iPad application. Also showed some examples of types of projects people who code work on. Here’s a pic of the future hardware engineers that wanted to stick around during their recess to learn about circuit boards and micro controllers:

  21. Waqar Ahmed Shar

    I am also learning HTML now ! 🙂