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Monday, 16 December 2013 09:36

Encouraging the Next Generation of Coders

Today, only 1 in 10 schools are teaching computer science, or 90% are not. Whichever way you look at it, that is a lot of not learning a skill that is only growing in importance and need in today's tech driven world, so some are looking to change it.

Last February, Code.org, a website with tools for students and teachers to learn to code, launched along with the video “What Most Schools Don’t Teach” featuring industry celebrities from Bill Gates to Mark Zuckerberg and even a few surprise coders such as Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat. The video’s purpose, as well as the website, was to encourage kids to learn to code. Twelve million views and eight months later, Code.org is now a national network of adovcates working to bring computer science to shools across the country.

Code.org’s latest campaign, called the Hour of Code, was part of last weeks annual Computer Science Education Week. They partnered with Computing in the Core to produce hour long coding tutorials, encouraging teachers to put aside their regular lessons, giving their students an hour of time to code. The programs provided an interactive introduction to coding filled with well known video game characters, video clips from Gates and Zuckerberg, along with encouragement from President Obama.

Fast Company reported that Hadi Partovi, creator of Code.org, said the goal of this campaign was “to remove the veil between regular people from the Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerbergs of the world.” As of December 9th, 4.5 million kids in 30,000 Kindergarten through 12th grade classrooms in 160 countries were set to try the Hour of Code. According to the Computer Science Education Week website as of writing this, 547,726,830 lines of code have been written by students and 16,607,615 have learned an Hour of Code. (That number changed by the time I was done writing and refreshed the page).

As an advertising and marketing agency that uses code on a daily basis, it is easy to see the importance of this push. If kids do not learn computer science skills, who will be the next generation of coders? No matter what industry one works in, these skills are only becoming more important. The initial video does a great job of sharing that it doesn’t take a genius to code, it just takes a little time and interest.  See for yourself below and check out the websites linked above for more information and insight.

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