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Tech giants, government promote computer science with Hour of Code

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Coding sounds hard, but sometimes all a kid (or grown-up) needs is a push in the right direction. That's the motivation for the second annual Hour of Code, which runs between December 8th and 14th as part of Computer Science Education Week. The initiative from non-profit site Code.org is designed to help students learn the basics of programming by providing a variety of educational tools online. It's also aiding 76,000 US classrooms by providing Hour of Code sessions -- double the number from last year. Over 100 classes will participate in YouTube video chats with Hour of Code ambassadors like Bill Gates, Jessica Alba, Ashton Kutcher and Twitter's Jack Dorsey.

Major US tech companies are also involved, with Apple and Microsoft hosting Hour of Code workshops in participating stores during the week, for instance. Other activities include coding with Disney's Frozen characters Anna and Elsa to learn to draw and position objects, JavaScript drawing basics from Khan Academy and a tutorial from Lightbot that teaches students to program a robot. There are also numerous other workshops, tutorials and chat sessions available on Code.org's website and its YouTube channel. President Barack Obama kicked off the proceedings with a new YouTube video (below) and will host a computer science event at 12:00PM ET today, which will be livestreamed on WhiteHouse.gov. Check the sources for more, and if you or your youngster can't get enough? Head to Code Academy, Made with Code or other learning sites for more.

[Image credit: Getty Images]

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