Why We Need An Hour Of Code
Written by Mike James   
Monday, 06 December 2021

Today marks the start of Computer Science Education Week when schools and coding clubs around the globe will be staging Hour of Code Events. This year, however, the Hour of Code is more part of the routine than something remarkable. 

As we reported last month, the theme for this year's CSEdWeek is "Computer Science Everywhere". As its website reminds us:

CS has helped unlock mysteries in math and medicine, it’s been used to create art. CS built your phone, the internet, your favorite games, movies, and tv shows. CS helped us eradicate diseases and enables us to explore the depth of space.CS helps us imagine ancient civilizations and build the cities of the future. CS is everywhere, and we’re discovering new uses for it every day.

Almost any Hour of Code activity can fit with the theme of #CSEverywhere and there's plenty happening around the world. The Hour of Code map has pins for 85,617 events in 2021 but to a large extent this years Hour of Code seems low key. Code.org has two new activities - Hello World for the youngest beginners (Grades 2 and up) in which kids create and animate sprites, and make their own interactive scenes.

hourofcode212

The other is Poem Art, in which students illustrate the mood of a poem using code. It has a five-lesson follow-on for 4th-8th grade students which goes further with combining CS and poetry by building a poem generator.

When the Hour of Code burst upon the scene, supported not only by  Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Jack Dorsey and other tech leaders but also by pop idols and world class athletes, it made an impact. That impact proved to be exponential. The aim for its debut in 2013 was to reach 10 Million students. In fact over 16 Million Hours of Code had been served by the end of Computer Science Education Week in 2013, by January 2015 the number of hours served reached 100 Million and the total now stands at over 1.3 Billion.

Of course, the Hour of Code isn't intended to be the end of the journey - instead it serves as a taster. No-one, child or adult, is expected to learn to code in an hour - but an hour can be enough to get you hooked and to convince you of the importance of exposing school students - indeed everybody, adults included - that the activity of coding makes you see problems in a new light. This is why it was so important that President Obama was treated to an hour of code to share the enthusiasm of youngsters from the underrepresented groups that Hour of Code specially aims to reach.

The skill of programming can prepare young people to enter the expanded tech workforce required in the coming decades. It also introduces them to computational thinking, something that can be applied in every aspect of life. Computational thinking isn't currently part of the curriculum - but when you program you acquire it even it's not explicitly taught.

So having the Hour of Code as part of the routine is an important step. It means that computational thought is being introduced in classrooms everywhere on an everyday basis. 

hourofcode21

More Information

Code.org

Hour of Code

Computer Science Education Week

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Zuckerberg, Gates And More Promoting Computing In Schools

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The 2018 Hour of Code Season Revs Up

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 07 December 2021 )