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!