Support Computer Science Week and the Hour of Code
There are quite a few problems facing the next generation of humankind to live, work and play on Earth. The key to solving many of those problems almost certainly lies in increasing and expanding the many applications of computer and information technology that drive progress in everything from biomedical research to energy development.
So one of the best things that any of us can do to help our children cope with the complex and increasingly tumultuous world that will soon be theirs to manage is to foster their interest in computer science. Next week, Dec. 7 through 14, is Computer Science Education Week. Teachers, students and learners of all ages are encouraged to participate in a variety of ways.
The foremost event is the Hour of Code. Other than "sometime next week," there's no specific time or date at which the Hour of Code will occur. The idea, rather, is to encourage learners and educators to take an hour sometime during the week and become familiar with the basics of writing computer code. That, after all, is the basis for almost everything in the IT realm.
That may sound intimidating to some, and perhaps essentially worthless to others. What could one person possibly learn about writing computer code in a single hour? That's largely the point, actually. Because it turns out that a person can learn quite a lot about writing computer code in an hour. It's not as difficult as you may think.
Hence, the more people (children, in particular, but anyone "from 4 to 104" is invited to join in) who give the Hour of Code a whirl, the greater the likelihood that more computer programmers will begin to emerge. It's that old thing your parents used to say about broccoli or sprouts: "Try it. You might like it." Only, instead of learning to like a vegetable, kids will potentially be learning to like a valuable life skill.
There is a large library of one-hour tutorials to choose from. All you have to do is pick a lesson and commit to an hour during the week. Everything else has been taken care of already, thanks to the ongoing efforts of the nonprofit group Code.org. To date, nearly 150 million "hours" of code have been used worldwide. Why not make your school or youth group the next to participate?