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Barack Obama learns to code

If ‘learn to code’ is on your list of New Year’s Resolutions, then you’re in luck; there is now a program which uses characters from the film ‘Frozen’ to help users learn JavaScript. And it has a ringing endorsement from none other than President Barack Obama, who became the first Commander-in-Chief to write a line of code – the command “moveForward(100);”, which moved Elsa to draw a square.

“Drawing one line to finish a square isn’t hard, it’s not rocket science,” says CEO Hadi Partovi, “and that’s exactly the point. That’s how computer science starts. You don’t write a fully-fledged game when you write your very first line of code, you write something as simple as PRINT ‘Hello World’.”

Obama was working with a group of middle school students from New York and New Jersey at the ‘Hour of Code’ event at the White House. “It turns out the concepts are not that complicated,” says Obama. “While no-one is born a computer scientist, becoming a computer scientist isn’t as scary as it sounds… With hard work and a little math and science, anyone can do it.”

“It’s not every day you get to take 20 students to the White House to teach the President how to code using a product your team built over the last year, to kick off a worldwide campaign for your almost two year old non-profit,” Partovi wrote on Quora. “I owe immense thanks to my team, and the support of all the partners, 75,000 teachers, and 50 million parents and students who helped make this day happen.”

British Prime Minister David Cameron has also voiced his support for extra education in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics); “There’s no secret to success in the modern world. If countries are going to win in the global race and children compete and get the best jobs, you need mathematicians and scientists – pure and simple.”

Obama says it best in a YouTube video about his ‘Hour of Code’ experience: “Don’t just consume things, create things.”

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