updated 05:32 am EST, Mon December 9, 2013
Scheme aims to teach 5 million students the basics of programming
The start of Computer Science Education Week (December 9-15) sees both the Democrat and Republican sides of the US government, as well as a number of celebrities and tech giants, endorsing the "Hour of Code." The initiative hopes for approximately five million students in 33,000 schools in 166 countries to spend time learning how to code, as it attempts to make programming more accessible.
President Barack Obama and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) both released statements urging people to take part, reports AllThingsD. Obama encouraged Americans by saying "don't just buy a new video game, make one. Don't just download the latest app, help design it. Don't just play on your phone, program. No one's born a computer scientist, but with a little hard work, and some math and science, just about anyone can become one." In a similar video, Cantor calls coding "the necessary tool of this century."
A set of lessons have been provided by Code.org on its website for educators to use in classrooms, as well as for interested individuals. Engineers from Microsoft, Google, Twitter, and Facebook have collaborated together in offering the Code.org tutorial, which is designed to act like a game that teaches basic coding principles. Tutorials from Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, among others, are also available on the site.
Outside the classroom, all US-based Apple stores will be holding an open Hour of Code session on December 11 at 5pm, with Microsoft stores also offering similar tutorials throughout the week. Apple, Bing, Disney, MSN, Yahoo, and YouTube will all be featuring the campaign on their front pages, with Google starting the week by creating a Google Doodle for Cobol creator Grace Hopper.