Disney Sponsors Hour of Code Event Featuring New Star Wars Tutorial

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Hour of code 12

The Disney Interactive Team along with Code.Org celebrated Computer Science Education week by joining forces once again to inspire children to learn the language of code.  At Monday’s event, Chewbacca and R2-D2 of the Star Wars franchise welcomed over 60 children from the Boys & Girls Club, Girls Inc., and TXT (Teens Exploring Technology) into the Disney Interactive HQ for the Hour of Code event.  

Arriving at the Interactive offices, we were greeted by some of our favorite Star Wars characters and invited to pose for pictures and walk the red carpet.  Once inside, the invitees participated in a training session using Code.Org’s Star Wars coding tutorial where everyone learned how to code their own video game.  Playing as Rey and BB-8, the two icons of the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens film, each user was able to build and play a game level.

Alice Steinglass, VP for Production, Engineering and Marketing at Code.org, talked about the availability of this free tutorial around the world.  Translated into over 44 languages, fifty billion people are expected to complete the Hour of Code.  Countries such as Russia and Italy had taken it one step further making it available for each child to try it in school.  The Code.org website states the tutorials are available for age 4 to 104, and the Star Wars themed tutorial is perfect if you have the force for fun.

Ada Duan, VP of Digital Business & Franchise Management at Lucasfilm, mentioned that BB-8 was specifically chosen to for its cute appeal to both boys and girls; children and adults. Duan encourages kids to join summer camps and organizations to pursue their interest in computer science. Lucasfilm holds tours of their animation and visual effects departments for children to have an idea of the type of careers they can pursue.

Joining in the fun were some of our favorite Disney Channel and Disney XD stars.   Karan Brar ( “Ravi” on Disney Channel’s Bunk’d and Jessie) and Sophie Reynolds (“Ashley” on Disney XD’s Gamer’s Guide to Pretty Much Everything) arrived with selfie-stick in hand to meet the kids one on one. Asked how they were enjoying the Code program, one youngster responded saying “it sounds complicated, but it is actually fun.”

After the Hour of Code, a large section was set up with Disney Infinity systems along with an unlimited display of characters to choose for battle.  Even a number of adults could not resist the ‘dark side’ and attempted to test the games; only to be defeated by the younger pros.

As a grand finale, a cake in the shape and perfect design of the new Star Wars droid, BB-8 was rolled out!  Ironically, the kids screeched for BB-8 as each piece was cut and passed out.  Even R2-D2 and Chewbacca shook their heads in agony.  Luckily, the cake was delicious, which helped make the less painful.   The evening ended on a high note as each child left with a goodie-bag filled with Star Wars merchandise.


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