December 8 kicked off the week long international Hour of Code Campaign, which runs until December 14. It was scheduled during Computer Science Education week. This International event began in 2013 and had 15 million students participating last year. They are aiming towards 100 million people this year. There are 180 countries participating. Students of all ages from 4 to 104 years old are encouraged to do an hour-long activity that helps them learn about computer science. The program began as it was noticed that over the past ten years American schools have been cutting their computer science programs just as employment needs in computer science were increasing.
The Hour of Code has created simple tutorials on their web site to appeal to people of all ages and have everything from designing a holiday card on Scratch Jr., to learning Java Script, to designing Apps. There are coding apps for tablets and computer programs; and there are even 6 activities that don’t require any screen device. The tutorials are available in over 30 languages.
The program was originally designed for schools, but at this point it can be done anywhere. I completed my hour of code at home and my kids did it at school. It was important to me to do it, as my kids are often saying they know more about computers than I do. They are probably right, but I can still learn. I have to say the certificate once complete is a very nice touch!
In case none of the tutorials work for you or you want to help your children delve deeper, Common Sense Media recently had a post on “Cool Tools to Help Kids Create Code.” Ingrid Simone gives a great list of apps and programs that can help children learn while having fun. There are some good oldies listed but also some great new apps. My family will definitely be trying some of them out we have not used before.