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Bill Gates is one the hosts of’s “How Computers Work” videos. (Image:

The next time you fly, you may be able to learn more about the laptop or other computing device you pull out to watch in-flight entertainment — from the in-flight entertainment itself.

Starting in April, Alaska Airlines will feature the new series of six short videos, “How Computers Work,” that the Seattle-based computer science nonprofit has created as part of its CS Discoveries course. The video series begins with an introductory segment by Bill Gates, in which the Microsoft co-founder explains that viewers will learn a variety of things, “starting with what makes a computer, a computer.”

The remaining five segments, each four to six minutes in length, cover subjects ranging from how computers represent information using 1s and 0s to the role of the CPU and memory. Along with Gates, video presenters include former Apple designer (and now Khan Academy VP of Design) May Li Khoe and Xbox architect Nat Brown.

While may be best known for its efforts to get kids into coding and computer science, its founder and CEO Hadi Partovi said in a blog post announcing the series that “students and adults alike can learn from these videos.” As a result, Alaska Airlines will offer them to passengers for free viewing onboard.

“’s new series is an entertaining and approachable way for us all to gain a basic awareness of how computers work,” said Alaska’s Manager of Inflight Entertainment & Connectivity David Scotland in the announcement. “We’re pleased to offer over 40 million guests the opportunity to view’s new video series inflight through our partnership.” The Seattle-based airline also will carry the earlier “How the Internet Works” series from

Students won’t be left out. The online education site Khan Academy will include the new videos as part of its computer science materials, and they’ll be used in’s programs.

You don’t have to catch a flight, however, to see the six new videos, or use online edtech. has also made the new “How Computers Work” series available, now, on YouTube.

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