Annual program, Computer Science Week, will be celebrated this year from 8-14 December, 2014. Produced by Code.org and Computing in the Core, organizers aim to increase excitement about computer science education and show that anyone can learn how to code.
Code.org encourages everyone to try one their 'Hour of Code' programmes that are designed for learners of all ages. According to their site, 52,713,960 people have already participated in the Hour of Code programmes, with over 3.3 billion lines of code written so far by students. The Code.org team also offers a variety of resources for teachers and administrators to help create K-12 computer science programmes to districts all across the U.S.
Current Limits of Computer Science Education
In addition to encouraging general interest in computer science, this celebratory week attempts to combat the low levels of computer science education programmes and collegiate graduation rates, which were detailed the event organizers.
In particular, Code.org shared that 9 out of 10 U.S. K-12 schools do not offer computer programming classes for students. This surprisingly low statistic emphasizes the opportunities for increasing the demand and interest of computer science education in schools across the U.S.
The U.S. National Science Foundation also stated that less than 2.4% of college students graduate with a degree in computer science and an even smaller percentage of this group are women, as seen in the Computer Education Week infographic below:
Celebrities & Government Leaders Get Involved
Involvement with Computer Science Week has hardly been limited to students and teachers; seeing celebrities and political leaders pledging their support for these technology educational efforts as well. They all recognized the pervasive scope and potential negative impacts associated with the current deficit of computer education programmes.
With the help of Code.org, participants of the Hour of Code can submit questions to 12 celebrities who will answer them in live YouTube video sessions through out the week of 8-14 December. These famous technology advocates include Ashton Kutcher, Jessica Alba, David Karp, Jack Dorsey, and Usher.
Additionally, U.S. president Barack Obama pledged his support in a YouTube message that reiterated his advocacy of computer science education and invited everyone to participate in the Hour of Code.
UK Prime Minster David Cameron also kicked off the Hour of Code campaign by inviting 50 students to Downing Street and digitally engaging 4 other UK schools remotely to participate in coding lessons. The photo below from his Twitter account shows Cameron enjoying his time learning a bit of computer science:
Source: David Cameron's Twitter Account
Notable Upcoming Events
Hundreds of events have been created to celebrate Computer Science Education Week and participants can view all U.S. and international events via the comprehensive list on the Hour of Code site.
The Computer Science Education Week event page also curated all the submitted activities as well and presents them as a schedule view so attendees can easily learn about the date and time for each event. Ranging from demos, to hackathons, to speakers, this well organized resource is a great starting point to see the varied offerings through out the entire week.
On Thursday 11 December, Apple will promote Hour of Code movement by offering free coding workshops in both their global and U.S. based retail stores. Find details about your local event by visiting the Apple site.