Worldwide coding event in Christchurch

International event offers chance to work some technology magic.

Cantabrians are this week being invited to join millions of people worldwide in learning how to create using computer code.

Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT) is encouraging participation in the international Hour of Code.

Over 10 institutions around Christchurch have organised an hour-long lesson as part of the week-long worldwide initiative.

The event is aimed at keeping the next generations up to date with technology. While many in this day and age are proficient with cellphones and computers, few are comfortable using code.

Coding involves using the programming languages that make computers respond to commands. For example, code is what makes a smartphone function when the user presses an icon on the screen.

Christchurch is hosting a number of events this year including student tutorials at Aranui High School, Geraldine High School, Medbury School, the University of Canterbury and Selwyn House School.

CPIT computing tutor Amitrajit Sarkar says Hour of Code will be an easy introduction to this field.

Participants, who will include Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel, are asked to spend one hour this week working on a coding challenge. Last year, 40 million people from all over the world took part, including US President Barack Obama and actor Ashton Kutcher.

"The tasks are fun and logic-based," Sarkar says. "You can do them alone, work in pairs or form a team to solve them."

There are options for every age and experience level.

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"All of us know that it's important for students to learn how to navigate today's tech-saturated world but many people aren't experienced in computing and don't know where to start," he says.

"We hope it'll spark interest in students and staffs alike to keep tinkering."

Sarkar helped develop the New Zealand programme materials and co-ordinated the Kiwi Hour of Code website.

He points out that code can be written by anyone who has a computer and internet connection. The Hour of Code event runs in more than 180 countries with tutorials in 30 languages.

For more information, visit the Hour of Code website.

 - The Press

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