The Hour of Code is an annual global initiative that aims to introduce people of all ages to the basics of computer science. It takes place during Computer Science Education Week which is December 4-10, this year. That week is chosen because computer pioneer Admiral Grace Murray Hopper’s birthday is December 9th. The idea behind Hour of Code is to encourage individuals to spend just one hour participating in coding activities. The goal is to demystify coding and make it accessible to everyone. The Hour of Code is significant because it plays a pivotal role in shaping a digitally literate society.
One of the key strengths of The Hour of Code is its ability to make technology accessible to everyone. It offers a one-hour, easy entry point into coding while breaking down barriers that may have prevented people from exploring the field of computer science. People of all ages, from school children to senior citizens, can engage in hands-on coding activities that are designed to be both enjoyable and educational.
We all want our students to create new ideas and connections to both different concepts and real-world applications through what we teach. We do not want them to just be passive consumers. The field of technology is no different. The Hour of Code introduces coding to all ages through engaging and interactive game-based activities. Participants–even the youngest children–develop problem solving skills, logical thinking and creativity, attributes all employers are looking for in the 21st century.
Another goal of The Hour of Code is to broaden participation in STEM. The Hour of Code showcases a diverse range of role models through short videos by well known individuals from various races and genders. By creating content that resonates with varied cultural backgrounds, The Hour of Code strives to bridge the gap and encourage underrepresented groups to explore opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Additionally, participating in The Hour of Code helps build confidence and self-efficacy. Coding can be daunting but this initiative creates a positive and supportive learning environment. Participants are guided through step-by-step activities which are not only educational but also fun. In one of the introductory lessons, the participant is tasked with creating a path for an Angry Bird to reach a pig. Let me tell you, it is a wonderful feeling to get that bird to destroy that pig! Code.org (which is the host organization for Hour of Code) starts users out with very easy block programming and builds up users confidence.
As educators, we are preparing our students for a rapidly changing future. Just 18 months ago, most of us could not even imagine the present situation, with developments like AI and ChatGPT. The Hour of Code is an excellent opportunity to start even the youngest students on a path of digital literacy. Go to code.org, create a free account, play some of the games. Then schedule The Hour of Code in your classroom, school or district.
Beth Elgert is an ITRT with New Kent County Public Schools. Before coming to New Kent she was an ITRT in Newport News, VA for 11 years. This is her 27th year in education. She is passionate about improving student achievement through excellent instruction.