Tips for a virtual Hour of Code event

You don't have to be in-person to run a successful Hour of Code!

While the Hour of Code is traditionally held in classrooms throughout the globe, you don’t need to be in-person to enjoy the fun! You can still host an interactive and inspirational Hour of Code for students remotely using some of these recommendations. Take a look at our guide for virtual events if you still have questions.

You may be apart, but you can still start together

Even if you plan for students to complete their activities independently, we recommend starting your event with a virtual kick-off online to get participants excited. There are several interesting ways you can start your event:

  • Invite a guest speaker: Thousands of volunteers from all backgrounds are waiting to hear from you! Simply use our volunteer map to search for them. With a virtual Hour of Code, you’re not limited by distance so if needed, consider searching outside of your zip code for volunteers that are offering to help remotely. Once you’ve connected with a volunteer, you can reference the Hour of Code Volunteer How-To as a guide for determining potential topics, discussion questions, and more.
  • Show an inspirational video: Another reliable option to start your event, is showing participants one of our many inspirational videos. Many videos are less than 5 minutes long and feature inspiration and encouragement from celebrities your students will recognize.
  • Discuss computer science for good: Turn your Hour of Code event into a deeper understanding of computer science by considering the impact of technology on our everyday lives. Ask students guiding questions and turn the beginning of your event into an interactive discussion. For ideas on how to get the conversation started, check out these discussion questions.

What to prepare ahead of time

1. Determine your video conferencing platform

Chances are you’re probably familiar with platforms like Cisco Webex, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Skype, or Zoom by now. Whichever tool you prefer, we just encourage you to familiarize yourself, test out it’s capabilities, and run through your Hour of Code agenda prior to your event date.

2. Plan how students will participate

Self-led Hour of Code activity
We recommend that after your kickoff, you allow students to leave the video conference to work through their Hour of Code activities on their own rather than live together. This will allow students to immerse themselves in their own projects and gain a stronger understanding of the CS concepts. It will also minimize the distraction and obstacle of having to have a video conference window open.

It may be helpful for you to determine 1-3 tutorial options for them to choose from ahead of time. This allows you to choose activities that are best suited for their grade level. Plus, if students have questions that require your assistance you’ll be better prepared to help if you’re already familiar with the tutorials they’re working on.

If your class is expected to do their activity immediately after kickoff, you might consider keeping a virtual conference room, chat platform, or other means of communication open so they can reconnect with you with questions as needed.

Hour of Code activity together online
If you prefer to keep your participants on the same video call for the duration of your event, please note that they’ll need to have two windows open at all times - one for the video conferencing platform, and the other for students to work on their activity.

With parents
For students that are Grade 4 and below, consider encouraging their parents to host an Hour of Code at home. You can support them with some recommended tutorials as well as this helpful How-To for Parents.

3. Enlist a volunteer

You can find a volunteer suited to your needs by visiting our volunteer map. Many are available for remote participation and are more than willing to speak about their experience in computer science, how technology impacts their roles, or simply to help you with troubleshooting student questions. Once you find a volunteer, make sure you set up a meeting with them ahead of time to discuss their role for the event, work out technical requirements, and establish the logistics of participating online.

4. Celebration supplies

Take a look below for ideas on celebrating your virtual Hour of Code. Some may require you to prepare ahead of time such as creating completion certificates for all of your participants.

Celebrate together

Similar to how you started the event, come together afterwards to celebrate! Here are some ideas for making your virtual celebration interactive and special:

  • Allow students to share their completed projects with the rest of the class. If your conferencing platform allows, you can even encourage students to take a screenshot of their projects and set it as their virtual background!
  • Discuss learnings: What have they learned about computer science or technology? What did they do when they ran into a problem, how did they solve it?
  • Create and share certificates for your participants
  • Share photos and videos of your virtual Hour of Code on social media. Use #HourOfCode and @codeorg so we can highlight your success, too!

Lastly, if you didn’t start the event with a guest speaker, inspirational video, or discussion questions, this would be another great opportunity to incorporate one of those experiences as well.