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Friday, December 11, was the final day of this year’s Hour of Code. While the Hour of Code may be over, I’d like to highlight one of the new initiatives that Google launched this year “aimed at getting young women (and girls) to try coding” (Crook, 2014).
Each year, I’ve found the folks at Code.org do a great job offering resources and projects designed to increase the level of interest not just in coding but (more importantly) in the field of computer science for kids of all ages and backgrounds. What I have especially loved over the past couple of years is the way they have targeted young girls in their campaign. This year, Code.org raised the stakes partnering with Google to launch Made With Code. The idea behind this new initiative is to “show young girls that the things they love from apps on their smartphones to their favorite movies are made with code, and they can apply the skills they learn to their own individual passions” (Crook, 2014).
What is really great about this new initiative between Google and Code.org is that it is a long term partnership with Google providing significant financial support. According to Jordan Crook of techcrunch.com, “Google is investing $50 million into the Made with Code program and a host of other partners/sponsors are ready to help promote the program’s content into a variety of communities across the country over the next three years” (2014). “People like Chelsea Clinton, Mindy Kaling, the MIT Media Lab, Girl Scouts of the USA, Girls Inc., Girls Who Code, the National Center for Women and Information Technology, and Tech Crunch” have all signed up to help (Crook, 2014).
So what can we do next? I’d like to encourage folks to keep the conversation going. Once a conference, workshop, class, program are over it can be tough but I encourage everyone to keep the coding/computer science conversation going. I would also encourage everyone to keep coding! Just because the Hour of Code is over doesn’t mean we have to stop coding. If you can’t code for one hour a day; try coding at least one hour a week.
One of the key take a ways for me during this year’s Hour of Code is the reminder that you don’t have to be a tech person to understand how important it is for every young child to be a (responsible) digital citizen. Be a coding partner! Encourage a young person to try coding today. tlb