Videos For The Hour Of Code

The Hour Of Code has become a big deal in K-12 schools around the US and around the world. It happens this year during the week of Dec 5th to Dec 11th, which is Computer Science Education Week. Schools find an hour during that week and offer students the ability to do coding exercises for an hour. Students love it.

Many schools ask parents who are software engineers to come to school and help out with the Hour Of Code. My friend Dan Malven is doing that in his children’s school this year. He sent me an email with a question for the AVC community. He wants suggestions for videos to show the students that will help them get excited about learning to code. Here is how Dan explains it:

My goal in the presentation is to show how software is affecting the things they care about. The message I’ll be giving is that not everyone will have the desire and skills to be a professional coder. But everyone does need to understand software because its affecting everything. I want to show how software is (and will) affect sports, music, entertainment, medicine, politics, etc. Basically whatever 8th graders care about. I want them to understand that software is affecting all the things they care about so if they want to have an impact on the things they care about they better learn software.

So, if you know of any videos, ideally publicly available on YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, etc that Dan can use, please share them in the comments.

And, of course, if you are going into a school in a couple weeks to help with the Hour Of Code, please feel free to use any of the suggested videos with the students in your school.

#hacking education

Comments (Archived):

  1. Karen Cahn

    Fred, if you ever need videos produced for this cause, my company would be happy to send a small crew, pro-bono, and capture the students in their learning environment. We are based in NYC. [email protected] if interested.

  2. Rob Underwood

    Fred, Happy to help Dan directly in needed/desired, but short story is there is a lot of what he is looking for out there.Regarding the type of videos he describes, has a ton on its web site and in particular its YouTube channel at…. Here’s a good example with Chris Bosch –…. This is video from Girls Who Code, is also great –>…We’ve put links to a number of Hour of Code resources on the CodeBrooklyn site at…. And for 8th grade (middle school), he might want to look at the Codesters Hour of Code materials –, happy to help Dan directly if needed.

  3. Mike Zamansky

    The thing to remember is, to quote from Dan above: “to understand that software is affecting all things THEY care about…” so I’d look for videos on things that relate to them.I don’t know if there’s anything here and it’s really aimed at slightly younger kids, but the stuff put together for Jewelbots seemed to be good for slightly younger girls:

    1. Twain Twain

      For hardware and girls, I prefer Geek Gurl:*…I wasn’t one of those little girls who liked jewelry, even though I had lots of frilly dresses and cute shoes.I liked radio-controlled cars, handheld games and trying to motorise otherwise immobile things.

      1. LE

        trying to motoriseI liked motors period. Just running them. Hearing the noise. One of the reasons I am not into Tesla. I like the hum of the engine in my car. One of the best noises to this day is the sound of the stepper motors in the phototypesetting system that I bought early in the 80’s.You would have loved gas powered rc helicopters. Nothing like the edge from trying not to fly a big 60 size heli that you spent months building and then trying to not crash it while learning to fly. (Without gyros or computer assists as is the case today).

        1. Mark Essel

          That sounds wicked, I’m usually averse to hardware hacking but there’s a different kinda satisfaction to tangible work. I just hit keys, really fast sometimes πŸ™‚

        2. Twain Twain

          Between the age of 8-11, my Dad took us to car auctions so we heard lots of revving engines.Most of my friends had parents who took them to bookstores, lol.

      2. Mark Essel

        Hey cool, it’s bizarre but I somehow missed the raspberry pi phenomenon. I just thought, this thing is weaker than my phone so bleh. Now I’ll give it a look since I’m looking for a quirky side project I can tool around with over vacationI’ll poke around if there’s a bluetooth & wifi built in variant (or dongles) so I can skip all the jacks, maybe an upgraded processor and board too

  4. William Mougayar

    I was impressed by the global magnitude of this movement, as evidenced here:…But it seems to be most popular in the US and Canada (2nd with 2,800 locations). Surprised that China and India don’t have that many locations. Found out there are 6 schools around me that are in it, so I’m going to approach one of them and help out.

  5. BillMcNeely

    I’m giving the gift of coding from a former KS project to my son for christmas

  6. jason wright

    What part of the brain is most active when coding?

  7. LE

    The way you sell anyone (say a kid) on something that they don’t think they need is to tie it in to something that provides them a benefit they hadn’t thought of. The hot button. (ie guitars help you get girls). [1]With respect to coding I can think of an example from just yesterday where I heard that my stepson (who has had zero interest in computers [2] to date ) came up to me and told me he was ‘interested in building a pc’. This seemed odd so I mentioned to my wife that it must have something to do with gaming which he is doing all the time. Playing games that others have coded. So to me the secret sauce with at least many kids (some of course just like playing with computers w/o gaming obviously) would be to tie it in to how you can learn to code so you can develop your own games. I’m playing to try and get him to code later so he can create his own games. (Sister already does this).With me learning to program basically tied in years ago with a) making money b) streamlining and making things more efficient. I liked it right off the bat primarily for ‘b’ after observing how businesses operated that didn’t have computers (long time ago pre pc). Later it definitely helped me with ‘a’.[1]…[2] As opposed to his sister who does.

    1. cavepainting

      That’s a great point. I am trying to the same with my son.

    1. cavepainting

      Very cool. The drive to push life beyond what it is now – in all ways, personal, professional, spiritual – is a very primitive need in all of us. Once in a while, when we move beyond the tyranny of the day-to-day tactical and take a longer view, it is clear that there is a natural urge to figure out what may lie beyond and if / how we can discover /shape /influence it.

    1. LE

      I would think intuitively that this type of behavior (risk taking and failure) actually contradicts the mindset and personality of a traditional programmer. It seems almost like more of an analog behavior that would be embraced by an artist or creative type and not an engineer. Computer types (broadly to lump them all in) want predictability. When you do something you want the outcome to be the same each and every time. In terms of cold calling (the HP story) it worked for Steve when he tried and I am guessing if he failed he would have tried again maybe 100 times. But for some reason I don’t see a traditional coding guy doing the same type of thing when pitching. Maybe a scientist or an inventor for sure (that’s more creative and speculative) but not programming. None of this matters (it’s a good video) but worth mentioning.I am reminded when I went out cold calling on my first day in business. I got positive replies from just about everyone (being young gives you that edge). However (and I have told this story before) when I stopped in to Jim Cramer’s uncle or father’s business (they were partners) one of them (not sure which one) literally threw me out. They owned a small packaging company or distributor at the time. Personality definitely fit Cramer.

      1. Lawrence Brass

        Yes, coding as a skill, if executed professionally and repetitively may fall in the traditional programmer mindset you describe. Where the power lies in my opinion is that the act of coding, its immaterial yet value creating capabilities, can give kids creative and self motivating experiences that can be guided to yield a cognitive capability increase, a glimpse into the maker or inventor mindset. Learning to code is about exploration and discovery. I would bet you have experienced that.Kids need encouraging too, specially if they come from less affluent families or unstable environments. Learning to ask for help without thinking that others will necessarily perceive that as being needy, communications in general, are very important skills that they also must learn to succeed.I can imagine that they hanged up the phone and you appeared at their door at the same time. πŸ™‚

  8. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:The love we have for any particular discipline or space doesn’t translate to our love ones adopting the affection if what we love is how we make a living or how we incorporate it in our life isn’t a overwhelming positive influence. (We always think we are perfect in the eyes of our love ones but really less than). The apprenticeship era is almost non existent. In the 30’s-70’s if your parent was a plumber, electrician, carpenter, mason, nurse, doctor, lawyer, etc., you usually adopted the occupation.Geeks are currently cool now. When growing up we didn’t understand the monetarism of those disciplines and made fun of those who engaged. After a good education now the light has turned on. The light needs to be turned on early for the youth and it appears the efforts of all involved are doing a great job with at least allowing access and opportunity for those with that desire to learn code.Job well done. The reason why we enjoy Fred’s blog and thinking on education and social causes.

  9. PhilipSugar

    I will also say lego robotic league is a great way to learn programming. If somebody knows a team that cannot afford the parts reach out and I will “sponsor” a team. (Sponsoring is not allowed and I don’t care for the recognition anyway)

    1. LE

      (Sponsoring is not allowed and I don’t care for the recognition anyway)This seems to indicate that sponsoring is allowed?There are many other opportunities to raise money for your FIRST team and contacting local businesses is great place to start. Many teams have associations with companies that have interest in or may already provide grants/support to FIRST teams – but often, the connection is never discovered. Also consider having your team’s Mentors and parents ask their employer about supporting your team.http://www.firstinspires.or

      1. PhilipSugar

        You are not allowed to have a team with a name on it. We cannot call it the “Sweet Sugar Team” No issue.

        1. LE

          Thanks for clarifying. My take on that is that ‘lego’ laid down the law since they don’t want any dilution of the marketing impact that they get. [1] Obviously local team sports are sponsored by the local pizza shop etc.[1] Obviously not in the best interest of the kids.

    2. Rob Underwood

      I can probably (definitely) find you 10 schools in Brooklyn that would jump at that offer. It’s very generous. Shoot me an email at rob(at)ttmadvisors if you’d like to talk more.

  10. Lisa O'Brien

    I suggest this 30 second video: Created in collaboration between the Scratch Team ( and the Cartoon Network, the video explains that code can be a tool to express your ideas and create lots of different kinds of projects.

  11. dan_malven

    This is awesome! Thank you everyone, and especially to Fred!Please keep the suggestions coming. Keeping an audience of 13-year-olds engaged is a tall order, but like with child-raising it can be done with a village!

  12. Joly MacFie

    Fred, as you probably know, CSNYC has a wide variety of videos at… – While not all may be suited to students, there’s plenty in there to inspire teachers.

  13. Adriana Leah

    Hi Fred! SAM Labs is actually giving a Nepris talk on the ‘Hour of Code’ theme, so we’ll have our video on 7th December if Dan might be interested? If not, here is a fantastic video of how to build a smartwatch using custom code with SAM blocks:

  14. Alan Wells

    I’ve volunteered at Hour of Code for the past 3 years, and I always spend about 10 mins out of the hour showing kids examples of actual projects that I’ve participated in building, and they frequently find that quite interesting – it seems like they connect with this more than the videos of celebrity founders that I’ve tried showing. I try to show a variety of projects and always include some things I know they can connect with (iPhone games, for example). Last year I tried a new idea and brought a hardware device from my startup along with an Arduino circuit board to pass around. The hardware was the most exciting thing to the group – the kids stayed during their recess to touch and learn more about the circuit board. In my experience, the students have been much more engaged and excited to see these types of actual projects than they have with the videos I’ve tried showing. Here’s a pic from my time in the classroom last year:

  15. Frank W. Miller

    If you want to teach them computer science, start with a real language. πŸ˜‰ https://uploads.disquscdn.c

  16. Dan Routman

    I’d like to make Dan and others aware of Nepris, an Austin-based web platform that connects K-12 classrooms with industry professionals via live web video. Nepris is offering a number of already-scheduled Hour of Code sessions with engineers that any K-12 teacher/classroom in the U.S. can sign up to participate in.

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