Computer Science Education Week is this week, and to celebrate and raise awareness for computer science, a handful of celebrities and tech companies are backing a new initiative called Hour of Code, which encourages students from all across the US to take at least one hour this week to learn something about coding and programming.
The main website for the campaign, Code.org, has the backing of a variety of political, corporate and personal supporters, including Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, Ashton Kutcher, Shakira, Warren Sapp and even President Obama are urging folks to learn how to code, and they’re simply just encouraging people to at least learn a little bit about it, whether it’d be writing two lines of code or 100 lines.
The idea behind the whole campaign is to pull back the curtain that most people don’t want to look behind, simply because they think coding is a mysterious and difficult task that they think they can’t accomplish, but what many people fail to realize is that it’s not difficult at all when you start with the most basic of coding and work your way up.
President Obama urged students in a YouTube video to not “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.” One disappointing statistic is that 90% of schools in the US don’t teach computer science classes (or they only offer these classes as a non-credit elective), but Code.org looks to change that, and it’s hoping that if people just simply start learning code, it will snowball into a deeper interest that will keep them hooked.
Both Microsoft and Apple will be hosting special Hour of Code workshops at their respective retail stores for free, where anyone can come in and learn the basics of coding in a one-hour session. Code.org also has its own curriculum, and popular online coding school Codecademy will also have tools to use this week to learn code.