AWS Government, Education, & Nonprofits Blog

Millions of Students in 180 Countries Participate in Hour of Code

During December 7-13, in celebration of Computer Science Education Week, tens of millions of students in 180+ countries participated in Code.org’s “The Hour of Code” powered by Amazon Web Services (AWS). The Hour of Code is a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify code and show that anybody can learn the basics.

To show support at local schools in the Washington, DC area, AWS had the opportunity to participate in coding events held at Lafayette Elementary School in Washington DC and Patrick Henry Elementary School in Arlington, VA with over 600 students.

Coding in the classroom

With volunteers from AWS, kindergarten through fifth grade students got to participate in an Hour of Code.  AWS volunteers walked the students through coding activities in the form of Minecraft, Star Wars, Frozen, and Angry Birds. Students had the opportunity to code the real-life games they play. They solved puzzle challenges, worked through mazes, built houses, and more— all on the computer. Children of all ages were matched with activities for their age and skill-level, and at the end of the hour session they were able to explain what coding is and how it is used.

As volunteers, we had the opportunity to see the kids’ faces light up as they completed challenges they once thought were too difficult. Seeing them overcome the obstacles and get excited about coding showed how coding can be fun and kids of all ages can do it.

Students left energized, inspired, and wanting to code more, at home and at school. One of the goals of The Hour of Code is to introduce coding to students at a young age and give them the resources needed to learn how to code. By helping students as young as five understand what coding is, the real-life use cases, and how to get started, it encourages them to engage in technology and potentially consider careers in technology. With more resources made available to the students, the more they want to continue to learn.

The Hour of Code is geared toward young people, and school-aged children, but anyone can participate and begin to learn the coding basics. Volunteers, teachers, and students all got involved during the day.

Scaling to meet demand

The events at Lafayette and Patrick Henry Elementary Schools were only two of the thousands of sites participating around the globe. Code.org needed the ability to handle extreme spikes in traffic as students logged on and participated in the activities worldwide. Code.org receives one whole year’s worth of typical traffic in one month. They needed to scale to meet this kind of demand, so their site could withstand that kind of surge in usage reaching tens of millions of students.

Using Amazon CloudFront, Code.org hosts the tutorials all over the world with the help of the AWS global infrastructure and multiple regions to plan for redundancy and high availability. So wherever you are in the world and no matter how many people are on the site, you can access the tutorials quickly and more responsively.

Start coding today!