A nationwide effort to get more kids programming is happening during Computer Science Education Week from December 9-15. Code.org has launched a campaign to get 10 million students of all ages to take part in the "Hour of Code". The Hour of Code is being held in schools, organizations, and homes across the country with a variety of tutorials available for students to try out the basics of computer science.
Computer Science and the logical thinking, problem solving, and teamwork that comes with it are rapidly becoming the foundation for any career moving forward. Choose any department in a modern organization and you will see the need to understand programming and data-analysis. Marketing? Changes in social media engagement, website traffic analysis, and search engine optimization. Operations? Changed by inventory management, predictive analysis (think Amazon), and delivery optimization. Sales? Now sales must feed databases of customer information and sales forecasts. And here in Atlanta, even a large government organization such as the CDC is seeing an explosion of data related to health and they need workers with skills in data analysis and informatics. And these changes are not going to stop! But people who can bring their own tools and a programming mindset and skillset will have a distinct advantage.
One other important thing that the Hour of Code is encouraging is getting kids together to have fun and work together through the programming challenges. It's one thing to look at computer code in a browser window but it's an entirely different experience to be in a room full of students laughing, helping each other, and challenging each other. The kids really feed off the group energy and the experience is so much more positive and memorable. This will help make them want to continue.
We will be celebrating the event with current and past Start Code elementary students. We will be doing an extra session with them using Scratch, App Inventor, and more fun tools. But the great thing is that the students in all of our classes including our middle school, high school, and homeschool classes are already doing an "hour of code" every week!