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Apple, Microsoft among top tech vendors backing Hour of Code programs Dec. 7-13

And yes, there is a Star Wars: The Force Awakens coding tutorial, too

Apple, Microsoft among top tech vendors behind Hour of Code programs Dec. 7-13

Big tech vendors such as Apple and Microsoft are tossing their heft behind non-profit's 3rd annual Hour of Code campaign, which runs Dec. 7-13.

Launched in 2013,'s goal is to expand access to computer science education to every student around the world, with a particular emphasis on reaching out to females and underprivileged kids. Some 173,000 Hour of Code workshops are slated to take place next week.

Among the outfits hosting such workshops is Apple, which at its stores will offer one-hour introductions to computer programming for kids 6 and up (sign up here). Apple will offer special events at some stores, such as its SOHO spot in NYC, where co-founder and CEO Hadi Partovi will speak at 6pm on Dec. 7.

Among the programs used during the Hour of Code workshops being offered by volunteers around the globe will be a Minecraft coding tutorial unveiled recently by Microsoft, Mojang and last month.

And what would any event be this month without some sort of tie-in to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which opens in theaters on Dec. 18. Disney has teamed with for a Star Wars-themed coding tutorial.

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There's still time to host a workshop, and is encouraging individuals and schools to do so with assorted prizes, including $10,000 for a public school in every US state and Washington, D.C., plus on a smaller scale, a $10, iTunes or Windows Store gift card for organizers.

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