As a software industry career-changer and former coding nerd myself, I look forward to Computer Science Education Week and the Hour of Code every year! I started programming when I was around nine or ten years old. When I wrote my first lines of code in Basic on a green-screen Apple computer, and made my name blink on the screen in front of me, I was hooked. I went on to learn other languages throughout the years at varying levels of proficiency. I am rusty being so far removed from that world, and many of the languages are outdated at this point^, but the skills learned from coding are still with me. Programming taught me to plan ahead, be a critical thinker, be a problem solver (who didn’t curse at their compiler super late at night in the computer lab over a program that just wouldn’t work?!), and how to think outside the box. I may not program on a daily basis at this point in my life, but I’ll always love it!
Back to the Hour of Code. What is the Hour of Code, you say?
The Hour of Code started as a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify “code”, to show that anybody can learn the basics, and to broaden participation in the field of computer science. It has since become a worldwide effort to celebrate computer science, starting with 1-hour coding activities but expanding to all sorts of community efforts. Check out the tutorials and activities. This grassroots campaign is supported by over 400 partners and 200,000 educators worldwide. (hourofcode.com)
I have participated in the Hour of Code since its inception in 2013. Every year, I stop all of my classes for the day to give my students the opportunity to “try out” computer science and coding for an hour. I continue to be impressed with the variety of tutorials, activities, and courses that are provided for students each year. New tutorials were developed for this year, including the Google Doodle creator in Scratch and the Play that Tune app! There were also unplugged options that didn’t require the use of computers. The Hour of Code made it super easy for teachers at any level to get involved.
I had 101 students participate in the Hour of Code over the past two days. I hope that a new passion was ignited in some of them!
^ My languages are Basic, C++, dBase, RPG, SQL, and HTML.