In modern society, technology has become an increasingly significant part of our lives. Therefore, it may come as a shock to most of The Mountain’s readers that 90% of schools in the United States do not teach Computer Science as an in-school course.
In order to promote computer science education, Code.org, a nonprofit organization that seeks to foster a love of computer programming, sponsored the second annual “Hour of Code.”
In this event, people all around the world were invited to take at least one hour between the days of Dec. 8–14, Computer Science Education Week, to experience programming through a variety of games and tasks.
“People sometimes think that computer science is really complicated or only for people with certain capabilities and interests. However, this is not the case,” explained Computer Science teacher Mr. Jeffrey Lasser. “You do not need a specific background or experience to get started coding.”
Code.org is committed to making computer programming seem appealing and available to everyone, especially to individuals who do not often go on to participate in computer-based work and study environments.
Since the program began, over 70 million people have participated in the “Hour of Code.” Almost half of the participants in the program’s initial year were women, one of Code.org’s key target demographics. “Hour of Code” activities are all user-friendly for any age, are tutorial driven, and can be completed in 60 minutes, hence the name.
Students and teachers are not the only ones joining the movement to create a more technologically literate population. Last year, President Obama, Shakira and Ashton Kutcher all created video messages, all of which were subsequently shared on the homepages of Google, YouTube, Yahoo!, MSN, Disney and Bing, encouraging participation in the “Hour of Code” event.
“Learning these skills isn’t just important for your future, it’s important for our country’s future. If we want America to stay on the cutting edge, we need young Americans, like you, to master the tools and technology that will change the way we do just about everything,” said President Obama, as quoted by wired.com.
This year marked Mt. Hebron’s second year hosting “Hour of Code.” Many of the students who participated in the event shared Mr. Lasser’s sentiment and admitted the activities were not as difficult as they had expected.
“It’s a new way of thinking,” said senior Aby Prasad. “It makes you more analytical. There is a large market for these skills.”
“The logic that you learn and practice in coding is applicable in all aspects of life,” added senior Xan Schruder. “It is valuable.”
Both Prasad and Shruder are members of Mr. Lasser’s Advanced Data Structures class. A vast majority of other students also stated that they greatly enjoyed the experience and that they would definitely recommend it to others.
In the true spirit of embracing technological literacy, the free program has been made available to the public and can be accessed online at Code.org year-round. This way, students can learn the valuable skill of coding at their leisure and become familiar with the language of the future.
“In today’s world, technology is everywhere. Everyone is a consumer of technology — from computers and smartphones to many other things — but many people do not yet know how to do more than use these products. Knowing how to code can help prepare students for the future,” Mr. Lasser said.
Whether for an hour or for a lifetime, coding is becoming a growing part in society, and every minute spent learning and practicing is worth it.