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November 19, 2014 Comments Views: 952 Industry, Tech

Disney Lends Its Characters To Young Coders Campaign While Barbie Gives Us A Lesson In Her Irrelevance

As part of Computer Science Education Week from December 8-14, Code.org is partnering with Disney on a mission to get kids interested in coding.

With a new tutorial titled “Artist with Anna and Elsa,” young coders will be introduced to practical coding concepts by the most popular characters from the House of Mouse right now.

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Level 6 of the Frozen inspired coding tutorial

Capitalizing on the popularity of the blockbuster Frozen with this tutorial is only the beginning for Code.org, which is in their second year of their “Hour of Code” Campaign. The tutorial will include guest lectures from leading women in tech in an effort to promote computer science industry careers among young girls.

This is a huge departure from Mattel’s stab at reaching young female minds by with their 2010 Random House publication called “Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer.”

In this addition to the series of books that explore Barbie’s endless career choices, we are introduced to a Barbie enthusiastic about designing a game. However, she makes a point of telling Skipper that of course she has to have her guy friends code it for her, because she is only working on the design. Then, there is a subsequent incident where Barbie doesn’t realize she has a virus that has crippled her computer until Skipper offers up the suggestion.

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Barbie implying that girls can’t code and designers are useless in one well placed laughing comment.

Furthering the idea that young girls can do anything, as long as it’s not too technical and doesn’t require logic, this book also reduces the importance of a designer’s role to just making things look pretty. Such a simple task that even an airhead like Barbie (who has been an astronaut, by the way) can do it! Mattel has since apologized and the book has been pulled from Amazon.

Thankfully for the sake of young minds, especially young female minds, Disney’s partnership with Code.org doesn’t stop with this tutorial. The media and entertainment giant has pledged $100,000 to Code.org and will host “Hour of Code” events in the US and Canada.

To check out the tutorial and learn more about Code.org, visit Code.org/frozen

Sources: Geek Wire, Daily Dot, CNet

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