‘Hour of Code’ hopes to jumpstart students’ computer science futures

BY newsdesk  December 9, 2013 at 3:58 PM EST

“Hour of Code” strives to spark students’ interest in computer technology.

With demand growing for students with skills in computer science and programming, Code.org — a non-profit dedicated to expanding access to computer science education — is launching the Hour of Code as part of the annual Computer Science Education Week from December 9-15.

Code.org hopes that the challenge will spark students’ interest in learning more about computer technology.

“Today, we’re surrounded by technology. Commerce, communication, entertainment, and more, all rely on computers. Yet, very few of us know how they actually work,” said CS Education Week in a press release. “Computer science education is an increasingly important foundation for success, and everybody can benefit from learning the basics.”

Following last week’s release of the latest PISA test scores that show American students lagging behind their peers around the world, especially in math preparedness, the initiative is getting extra attention. President Barack Obama is lending his name to the project with a video that encourages students to take up the challenge.

Even if students don’t intend on growing up to become computer programmers, advocates insist that learning code can help students succeed in a broad range of skills.

“Everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer…because it teaches you how to think,” said Steve Jobs in a 1995 interview with PBS’s Robert Cringely.

Students of any age can get started by visiting Code.org or the Computer Science Education Week website for the course, tutorials and inspirational videos. As of publishing time, more than 2.3 million users had already hit the Hour of Code’s start button.

The activity provides a fun and engaging introduction to coding aimed at absolute programming beginners, and gives teachers the tools necessary to bring the Hour of Code to their classrooms and advocate for computer science class options in their school district.

H/T Allison McCartney