theodp writes: What if we could build a better world through code?”, begins the just-released teaser video for Microsoft’s 2020 Hour of Code: A Minecraft Tale of Two Villages . “Help us bring two villages together through the power of code! […] You will experience empathy and compassion for your neighbor while embracing the diversity that makes us all uniquely special.” Intended for ages 7-and-up, the accompanying Educator Guide suggests opening the 45-minute coding lesson (using Blocks or Python) with a 10-minute discussion of unconscious and conscious bias, including “prejudice based on race, ethnicity, age, gender, gender identity, physical ability, religion, and body weight.” The Guide also suggests how teachers might explain to students the harm biases can cause: “Both conscious and unconscious biases can cause us to behave negatively or discriminate against people. When we stereotype people based on their gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or some other characteristic, it can be detrimental to us and our community. On a larger and extreme scale, bias can lead to oppression, genocide, and even slavery.” The Guide notes that this year’s Hour of Code lesson adheres to five Social Justice Standards. The use of Minecraft, Microsoft Education suggests, will help keep students developing and applying social and emotional skills during the pandemic.
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