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Anythink programs promote computer code

Hour of Code programs kick off Dec. 4

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An effort at Anythink Libraries in December wants to demystify computer language and teach kids how to write their code, even if it has to rely on robotic mice and Elsa from “Frozen” to do it.

“The idea is about expanding computer science education because not a lot of schools nationally offer that,” said Morgan Creekmore, a tech guide at Anythink Library’s York Street branch. “It’s only offered in 60 percent of schools, but we really want to make it available to anyone.”

The Hour of Code is an international effort promoting computer programming skills with simple games and activities, each designed to last for an hour or less. According to the effort’s website, www.hourofcode.com, more than 180 countries are participating.

Activities are designed for preschool-age kids to adults, but cluster around teens and pre-teens, Creekmore said.

“One of the things they point out is just how many jobs there are for computer programmers,” Creekmore said. “There are literally thousands of jobs out there that need coders, but there is just not enough people to fill them. So Hour of Code is designed to get people interested and show them what they can do.”

Hour of Code activities typically are downloadable programs — for desktop computers, iPhones, iPads or Android phones or tablets — that teach everything from logic problems and puzzle solving to computer graphics and programming assembly languages.

This is the fifth year the Anythink system has participated.

Each library branch in the Anythink system is hosting at least one event between Dec 4.-10. Those include a Lego Mindstorms challenge at 4 p.m. Dec. 5 at Wright Farms Branch, a how-to program teaching teens how to create their own computer games at 4:15 p.m. Dec. 6 at the Bennett branch and coding robotic mice at 3:30 p.m. Dec. 6 at the Huron Street branch.

The system is also working with Colorado-based Toys2Life to create programs that bring make toys seem alive, adding voice acting and written dialog through a smart-toy system. They’ll be offering that program at 4 p.m. Dec. 4 at the Wright Farms branch, at 5 p.m. Dec. 5 at the Perl Mack branch, at 3:30 p.m. Dec. 7 at the York Street branch and at 3 p.m. Dec. 8 at the Huron Street branch.

For more information:

Anythink Libraries: www.anythinklibraries.org/gsearch?search=hour%20of%20code

Hour of Code: hourofcode.com/us

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