All kids care about these days is texting, right? Hour of Code proves the stereotype wrong by inspiring kids to code.
By Betsy Mikel (Contributing Writer, Women 2.0)
When you ask kids what they want to be when they grow up, it’s unlikely they’ll respond “computer scientist.” Is anyone surprised? According to Code.org, nine out of 10 schools don’t offer computer science classes. Yet computer science is the top-paying college degree and computer programmer jobs are growing at twice the rate of the national average.
To help inspire the next generation of tech-savvy computer scientists, Code.org is driving students and teachers to The Hour of Code website this week. The campaign aims to introduce students of all levels to coding with fun, interactive tutorials.
The Hour of Code kicked off the beginning of this week as part of computer science education week, and already millions of students from kindergarten through 12th grade have logged on to learn the basics of computer programming. The “anybody can do it” message behind the campaign has been endorsed by President Obama, tech moguls Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, celebrities like Ashton Kutcher, and musicians like will.i.am.
“Don’t just buy a new video game… make one. Don’t just download the latest app… help design it. Don’t just play on your phone… program it,” said President Obama. No one’s born a computer scientist, but with a little hard work and some math and science, just about anyone can become one.”
The campaign has expanded beyond classrooms with both Apple and Microsoft offering sessions in their retail stores. And believe it or not, kids are even logging onto the website at home to learn more. According to the Washington Post, the number of participants in Hour of Code is outpacing the organizer’s expectations, and Code.org estimates 15 million students will have taken a coding course by the end of the week.
Even better news is that 60 percent of the participating students so far have been girls, co-founder Hadi Partovi told Washington Post.
“Two days ago, the number of girls doing computer science in this country was 18 percent,” Partovi said. “This is amazing.”
Have you seen other campaigns or initiatives that get kids excited to code?
Betsy Mikel is a freelance copywriter and content strategist who helps brands, businesses and entrepreneurs tell their stories. A journalist at heart, her curiosity drives her to find something new to learn every single day. Follow her on Twitter at @betsym.