News

Coding is the New Superpower: Join Us for the Hour of Code on December 8-12

This is a guest post by Kelly Maher, a teacher at Patrick F. Taylor Science & Technology Academy and a distinguished digital educator with the Jefferson Parish Public School System. Maher was recently named Region I Educator of the Year by the Louisiana Association of Computer Using Educators (LACUE). She has also written articles for eSchool News.

“Everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer… because it teaches you how to think.”

—Steve Jobs

social-1The number of computer jobs in this country is rising three times faster than the number of computer science graduates, and the problem-solving and logical reasoning skills involved computer programming, as well as the ability to think critically and algorithmically, provide a foundation for virtually every career.

To help students of all ages get started in coding, please join us for the Hour of Code during Computer Science Education Week, December 8 -12, 2014.

What is an Hour of Code? According to csedweek.org, it’s “a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify ‘code’ and show that anyone can learn the basics to be a maker, a creator, an innovator.”

There is a plethora of Hour of Code Tutorials; some are “unplugged” and don’t even require a computer. The lessons stand alone and do not require the teacher, facilitator, or students to have any prior knowledge of coding. Resources include tutorials in a variety of programming languages for all ages. Beyond an Hour provides resources that allow interested students to continue to explore coding.

Coding Outside of Computer Science Classes

“In 15 years we’ll be teaching programming just like reading and writing and wondering why we didn’t do it sooner.”

—Mark Zuckerberg

social-3Despite staggering statistics that point to a need for computer science in our schools, only nine states recognize computer science as a math or science credit – and Louisiana is not one. Fewer than 10% of schools nationwide offer computer programming courses.

Luckily, coding isn’t just for computer science classes. Click here for some ideas for integrating coding into traditional content areas, and see below for a list of coding resources for students of all ages.

For younger students:

  • Code Studio offers a 20 hour-long coding course for elementary school students.
  • Scratch is a free programming language, developed at the MIT Media Lab. Scratch helps young people develop essential 21st century skills such as creative thinking, logical reasoning and collaboration, by programming and sharing interactive stories, games, and animations.
  • Tynker is similar to Scratch and also recently launched an iPad app.
  • CS is Fun (also includes resources for older students)
  • Code Maven offers an simple interactive tutorial that is perfect for younger students.

For older students:

For more information and resources on coding or the Hour of Code, visit code.org or hourofcode.org.