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Organize an Hour of Code

November 07, 2016

Back in 2014 (see here), we encouraged you to get involved with the "Hour of Code" project (https://hourofcode.com). When you enter that URL you will normally be directed to your local country site so we can't tell you exactly what to expect when you go there, but we can guarantee you it will be interesting.

We've volunteered to help out in our local area and encourage you to do the same. Check the maps and see if your local schools are participating--and if not contact the school and ask them "Why not?" There are lots of suggestions on the site to help you maximize your efforts.

On the website there are some fascinating, and somewhat disturbing, statistics. One of the more alarming ones is that while 90 percent of parents want their children to study computer science, the reality is that only 40 percent of schools actually teach it.  At any given time, there are some half a million IT jobs open in the U.S. and yet only 32 states allow students to count computer science courses towards high school graduation. That is nuts. Be grateful for small mercies though, this pathetic number is actually a significant improvement! In 2013 only 12 (yes, twelve) states allowed it. You can find more information here.

Some of you are already thinking of heading for the comments section to tell us that "All the coding jobs are moving offshore" and therefore this is a waste of time. But wait just a minute; frankly even if we agreed with you (we don't) we think this is irrelevant. Learning coding is a fabulous way to help kids learn to think logically. The current U.S. election, the Brexit vote and myriad other current events around the world should be more than enough to convince you that a little more logic and a lot less emotion would be a really good idea right now.

Even if you can't spare the time to get involved, at least make sure that your children (or grandchildren) get the opportunity. Tools like Scratch (https://scratch.mit.edu/) and Scratch Jr. (https://www.scratchjr.org/) can keep the little monsters amused for hours and they'll learn without even trying. If they are going to be glued to a screen anyway they might as well do something useful!

Posted November 07, 2016 | Permalink

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