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With help from Obama and Ashton Kutcher, Hour of Code turns kids into coders

Rather than playing games like Angry Birds, middle schoolers could actually be writing the code for them.

That is one of the messages being hammered home during a Computer Science Education Week event called Hour of Code. With a cameo appearance from Ashton Kutcher and the participation of President Obama, millions of students around the country and around the world are being encouraged to try their hand at coding in their computer classes at school.

"In one hour, you learn that programming a computer, creating technology is easy, it's fun and even if you're eight years old, you can enjoy it," Code.org's Hadi Partovi, co-founder of Hour of Code, told CNET.com's Kara Tsuboi.

Partovi hopes such efforts will also help bring a much-needed upgrade to computer classes.

"Your traditional computer class that teaches you just how to use technology is increasingly irrelevant," Partovi said. "Computer programming, the computer science, how to create technology, that's what we need to be teaching our kids."

"We want to make sure that our kids are ready for the future," said Joe Toy, a computer teacher at Westborough Middle School, which participated in Hour of Code. "Our kids can actually go ahead and have these high paying jobs 10 years from now."

At the coding event at the San Francisco school, students were treated to video chats with Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey and Kutcher, who told the students, "I really wish I had learned how to code."