This year the annual White House Christmas tree lighting event is getting a tech twist. More than 300,000 persons, including a major part of girls, participated in Google's Made with Code campaign to program the phenomenon how the lights will create a dancing effect on 56th official White House Christmas tree during the lightning event.
Blockly is a beginner programming language that will be used by the girls to build the code that will animate lights, starting from Wednesday. Participants simply head over to Made With Code's website, and get coding. The interface provides step-by-step instructions.
Kids' lighting designs will debut on Thursday during the annual tree-lighting ceremony at President's Park, and will remain displayed throughout the holiday season. The White House's YouTube account will live stream the broadcast.
Google's vice-president of engineering, Pavni Diwanji, wrote a blog post about the project, saying that it's important for girls to get involved with computer science.
"As the mom of two girls, I know that technology is a pathway for their future success," she wrote. "Still, even as coding becomes more important, less than 1% of high school girls say they're interested in pursuing computer sciences in college."
Google hopes the Christmas lights program will teach girls that coding can be both fun and educational. This is the first time children will be in control of the President's Park tree lights, according to the company.
"That's what Made with Code is about: discovering that creating something new and exciting — whether it's a holiday tree, a video game or a driverless car - can be accomplished with the power of code," Diwanji wrote.
Any girl who wants to program something for one of the trees is encouraged to participate through Made with Code. The White House trees will continue to add more programs from anyone who submits something throughout the holiday season.