STEM

Texas A&M Hosts Hour of Code Event

AggieSTEM, a collaboration between the College of Education and Human Development and the Dwight Look College of Engineering at Texas A&M University, hosted its first Hour of Code event last week.

The Hour of Code is an initiative launched in 2013 by Code.org to introduce children and adults of all ages to computer programming during Computer Science Education Week. More than 50 students from Texas A&M University participated in AggieSTEM's inaugural Hour of Code event.

Participants completed introductory tutorials designed to demystify computer programming. This year, Code.org created tuturials that let students animate characters such as Elsa from the movie Frozen, R2-D2 from Star Wars and characters from the Minecraft video game. "These tutorials were very engaging as compared to other coding programs I've worked with," said Janett Gallegos, an interdisciplinary studies major at Texas A&M, in a prepared statement. "It definitely got me more excited about programming."

According to information from the university, "only 27 states currently allow students to count computer science courses toward high school graduation credits." However, computer science is the only STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) field with more job opportunities than students. A Code.org blog post compares the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics to student data from the National Science Foundation to find that only about 80,000 computer science degrees were awarded in the United States in 2009, even though there are more than 150,000 projected annual job openings in computer science for the years 2010 to 2020.

Code.org also hopes to get more women involved in computer science. According to information from Texas A&M, "less than 25 percent of jobs in technology are held by women and less than 20 percent of bachelor's degrees in computer science are awarded to women."

The Hour of Code encourages everybody to try computer programming for one hour during Computer Science Education Week, which was December 7 to 13 this year. The goal of the initiative is to demystify computer programming and demonstrate that anybody can learn coding basics. Since the initiative launched two years ago, more than 166 million people around the world have participated in the event, and tech companies such as Apple and Microsoft have hosted Hour of Code events.

Further information about the Hour of Code can be found on Code.org's site.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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