"The Hour of Code" is Encouraging Students Across the Globe to Learn Programming and Computer Science

"The Hour of Code" is Encouraging Students Across the Globe to Learn Programming and Computer Science

Coding is for Everyone

     Coding is becoming more and more present in our everyday lives, and in the future, it will be a ubiquitous skill. Computer science isn’t just about keeping up with the technological age, it’s about problem-solving, critical thinking, and imagination. Coding is a creative action- with all the possible coding languages out there, you can do anything if you can think it up, or you can create your own coding language to get it done. It is also used in a multitude of professions and will create innovative jobs in the future. Even only knowing the basics of coding, you can code your own iPhone games, code HTML for your own web page, or even program a robot to feed your pets every day. Even though we live in the age of computer science and coding, some students are not exposed to coding until high school or college; only 40 percent of schools currently teach coding. These skills are necessary to live in the 21st century, and will only become more prevalent, so we should all be actively engaged in computer sciences.  


Computer Science Education Week


 Computer Science Education Week does exactly this.  In early December in memory of US Navy Admiral Grace Hopper’s birthday, December 9th, 1906, teachers across the globe lead computer science activities, including the Hour of Code, for a whole week. Hopper was a pioneering programmer known most notably known for creating the first compiler and developing a high-level computer programming language called Cobol. Hopper knew the future was in the hands of young people who will develop groundbreaking technologies. Therefore, she made teaching and mentoring computer science students one of her main priorities. She said, “the most important thing I've accomplished, other than building the compiler, is training young people. They come to me, you know, and say, 'Do you think we can do this?' I say, "Try it." During Computer Science Education Week, schools can participate in activities relating to coding, robotics, systems management, cyber security and much more. In 2016, Computer Science Education Week is December 5th through 11th, but you don’t have to wait to try out the Hour of Code until then.


Hour of Code


     The Hour of Code is a commitment to try one hour of computer programming; this can be at a basic or advanced level. Everyone is welcome to participate, but for most people, this will be their first experience with coding, or maybe even computer science at all. It was first launched during 2013’s Computer Science Education Week, a week-long exploration and celebration of computer science across the globe. It is meant to be an introduction to computer science and programming, showing that anyone can learn the basics of this seemingly daunting field.

     The Hour of Code proves anyone can learn how to code, and shows how versatile coding can be. An Hour of Code event can be hosted during Elementary, Middle, or High School classes, during after school activities like Boy/Girl Scouts, or easily incorporated into homeschool curriculums. Many people who have participated are elementary and middle schoolers, but people of all ages are encouraged to participate. Shown above, even President Obama participated in an Hour of Code event.  Around 300,000,000 people have participated around the world, however, you don’t have to wait to go to one of these events to discover the joy of coding.

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How to Participate

     Coding is the universal language that ties planet Earth together; it’s never too early or too late to start learning this skill. Seek out an Hour of Code event near you, start your own with a group of friends, or start a self-guided coding expedition. Teachers, you don’t have to have prior coding knowledge in order to host one of these events. Plenty of resources and self-guided student activities can be found online, epically as more and more people participate each year and share their activities. Students can work in pairs or teams if enough computers are not available, and activities, where students don't need computers, are also available; just try searching for “unplugged” Hour of Code activities. Students, your school does not have to be participating in an Hour of Code event for you to give basic coding a try. Hour of Code is only the start of your journey of computer science education. There is plenty more to do after this experience, including buying a robotics kit to explore the tangible effects of coding and to learn your first programming language.  Millions of students have already begun learning basic coding skills, so use Computer Science Education Week 2016 to begin!

Derek Capo