What are you doing to promote the Hour of Code?

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Why is SAS joining hands with Google, Microsoft, Amazon and other corporations to celebrate The Hour of Code?

During Computer Science Education Week, December 9 – 15, SAS and many others will draw attention to some startling facts:

  • The number of computer science jobs is growing three times faster than the number of graduates.
  • By 2020, the US is projected to have 1 million computing jobs unfilled!

There is huge concern about how we can fill these jobs, but the more significant question is this: How can the US innovate without computer scientists? This is no longer just an issue for our education system, it is an economic issue.

Schools across the US will celebrate Computer Science Education Week (CSEDWeek) by participating in an exciting new initiative called The Hour of Code.  It is a one-hour introduction to computer science that demystifies computer programming, or “coding,” and shows how anyone can create and innovate with a computer. The goal is to involve 10 million students in free coding activities.

You can start planning now to help accomplish that goal.

Teachers are encouraged to expose students to online tutorials that may be completed with just a web-browser, tablet, or smartphone. My personal favorite is Blockly.  Just try it, and I promise you’ll be fascinated.

There are also unplugged tutorials for students without computer access. No experience is needed! The idea is to help students experience the power of coding and get them “hooked” so they will enroll in at least one computer science course.

I’d like to share what we are doing at SAS to promote the Hour of Code in order to spark ideas for how other companies can do the same.

We are educating SAS employees and arming them with resources to act as advocates. On Dec. 10, SAS CIO Keith Collins will provide an overview at a special lunch event and will encourage employees to be ambassadors for the Hour of Code.  For those not able to attend, we will archive the video so folks can watch at their convenience.

SAS has developed a variety of support materials for our volunteers:  Power Point slides about SAS and/or STEM (science, technology engineering and math), videos, classroom activities, etc.  Our employees use these materials to tell students about the many fascinating careers in computer science and STEM.  Their enthusiasm can inspire students and help get them on the path to an exciting career.

What can you do personally?  Say “Yes!” when asked to speak at a local school during CSEDWeek.  And what is the role of the business community at-large? Any corporation can start by taking a look at the introductory video explaining The Hour of Code and sharing it with all employees.  Many schools are not yet aware of The Hour of Code, so corporations might share the link with local teachers and principals and partner with them on an activity.

Ask your local schools what they are doing or offer to be a speaker at a local event. You’ll be helping to improve our school system, fueling economic growth … and you’ll be helping 10 million students make history!

I would love to hear what other organizations have planned. Please share in the comments section!

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About Author

Caroline McCullen

Caroline McCullen is the Director of Education Initiatives at SAS Institute. As a Former National Technology Teacher of the Year, she continues to pursue her greatest passions: supporting activities and organizations that inspire excellence in education and helping schools harness innovative uses of technology to engage students and improve instruction. Her most recent projects focus on science, technology engineering, and mathematics (STEM). She continues to work with the SAS Programming for High School course, the Triangle High Five Math Collaborative, and other activities related to excellence in math and technology. She serves on the advisory boards of numerous education organizations, such as the NC Science, Technology and Math Center; Public School Forum; NC Center for After-School Programs; the Governor’s Talent and Workforce Development Committee; and Wake Education Partnership. She holds a B.A. in English with a minor in education from Florida State University and a M.S. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) with a focus on technology from Nova Southeastern University, but she continues to learn every day from teachers and students as they use technology to innovate.

4 Comments

  1. Michelle Proctor on

    Oh, wow, Caroline, this is awesome! I’m definitely going to start evangelizing the goodness of the Hour of Code every opportunity I get. Great stuff!

    • Caroline McCullen
      Caroline McCullen on

      I'm so glad you are enthusiastic about this, Matt. I happen to know that you have a couple of budding coders at your house, and I think they would love these activities. Now the next step will be making sure the public schools have computer science classes for them!

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