How Code.org Is Charging Up Computer Science Education

Opinion

Computer Science Education Week falls on the second week of December each year, coinciding with the birthday of Navy Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer in 1944.

CS Ed Week was kind of a snoozer until Hadi Partovi founded Code.org, hatched the idea of the Hour of Code, and built tools to support it. In the two years since then, nearly 150,000,000 “Hours of Code” have been completed.

Kids of all ages—from elementary school to grandparents—can participate in the hour of code. Every day this week at the University of Washington, the Department of Computer Science & Engineering is organizing one or more Hour of Code events. At Monday morning’s kickoff, UW President Ana Mari Cauce—ever a great sport and a great example—participated with a group of students. (President Cauce is not a complete novice—she took a COBOL course in college!) Later in the day, students in Professor Stuart Reges’s introductory programming course brought a novice friend or relative to class to participate in an Hour of Code. The visitors ranged from younger siblings to parents and grandparents.

Try it yourself! And hats off to Hadi Partovi and Code.org for creating a national and international movement!

Student Eric Keenan and his mother, Gayle, participate in the Hour of Code in Kane Hall. Photo by Kristin Osborne/University of Washington

Student Eric Keenan and his mother, Gayle, participate in the Hour of Code in Kane Hall. Photo by Kristin Osborne/University of Washington

 

University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce and student Sukhdeep Singh participate in the Hour of Code. Photo by Dennis Wise/University of Washington

University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce and student Sukhdeep Singh participate in the Hour of Code. Photo by Dennis Wise/University of Washington

 

Ed Lazowska holds the Bill & Melinda Gates Chair in Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington, where he also serves as the founding director of the University of Washington eScience Institute. His research and teaching concern the design, implementation, and analysis of high performance computing and communication systems, and the techniques and technologies of data-intensive discovery. Follow @lazowska

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