The Hour of Code: What Most Schools Don’t Teach, and How You Can Learn It

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As an educator, I wanted to take a moment to write you all to inform you about the Hour of Code project that is taking place globally this week. Both President Obama and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor recently issued statements about Computer Science Education Week, which runs from December 9-15th, to encourage students all around the world to learn more about coding and programming. This is a massive initiative to help students both new and not-so-new to the field. The project even comes with teaching materials and valuable resources for educators inside. (I personally wish that I had taken a greater interest in this subject earlier on in my life, and having been an educator of yours at one point, I’d like to help you to check it out too!)

What is Computer Science?

If you’re not familiar with what Computer Science is or what it can be used for, I’d highly suggest that you check out this video (above). Understanding how to program is another venue for helping the mind to think logically and critically, and while coding has traditionally been used to build operating systems, programs, and websites, it can also be used creatively (game and web designdata visualization, and interactive art projects just to name a few)! If you’re interested in reading about more, check out this list of careers that utilize and value a computer science education.

How can you get started?

To participate in the Hour of Code this week, it’s simple! You just need to spend an hour learning about computer science sometime before this Sunday (12/15/13). Luckily for you, a whole bunch of projects have been curated for different skill levels and most of them are fun! Best of all, they’re free! Some of my recommendations include making an interactive holiday card, the Light-bot puzzle game, and the Processing Hour of Code tutorial. Even Khanacademy has added coding tutorials to their repertoire of educational materials.

If you’re feeling even more advanced, check out the list of resources at the bottom of the post, “You can code, too!” from my friend, Olga.

Images: (top)

Joe Diaz is an MIT alumnus, science educator and enthusiast. Follow @RealJoeDiaz.

Categories: Computers & Technology, In the News, Science Education Standards

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