STEM

Hour of Code This Week Set To Engage Students in Computer Science

More than 15 million people all over the world are expected to participate in an Hour of Code this week, December 8-14, as part of Computer Science Education Week. An initiative of Code.org, a number of companies, nonprofits, schools and other entities in more than 100 countries will put on 76,000 events this week, all intended to get students interested in computer science.

The goal is for students to spend at least one hour on computer science activities in hopes of demystifying computer code and helping them learn that they have control over not only their electronic devices, but the content that they use on it.

Among the many companies involved is Tynker, a computing platform that has prepared a number of activities for students of all ages and experience levels.

Younger students can focus on solving some simple coding puzzles created by the company that will allow them to create interactive holiday cards, cartoons, simple games and stories. Older students can work on coding projects that will help them create drawing tools, math, art and more complicated games.

"By learning problem-solving and critical thinking skills at an early age, kids will be prepared to develop solutions that will change the world they live in," said Tynker CEO Krisha Vedati.

Code.org's goal is to teach anyone of any age the basics of writing a computer program in just one hour by having them code a game. There are many free tutorials in several coding languages, and they're compatible with smartphones, tablets and computers. The one-hour tutorials are available in more than 30 languages.

More than 20,000 teachers in the United States used Hour of Code within a few months of this event last year. Code.org estimates there will be more than 1 million new computer science jobs by 2020. However, fewer than 2.4 percent of students now graduate from college with degrees in the field.

About the Author

Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.

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