It’s CS Ed Week 2017: Get ready for The Hour of Code

Note: This post, contributed by Code.org President Alice Steinglass, is the first in a series of District Dispatch posts during CS Education Week 2017, December 4-10, 2017.

In the last few decades, technology has revolutionized libraries and research. But, when I learn to search for something on the internet, what is actually happening? Where did that information come from? How do Google, Twitter, Facebook, or other apps choose the order of the results or what appears at all? And, can the students be inspired to ask if they were designing an app or website how they would do it?

CS Education Week is December 4-10, 2017. Photo credit: Code.org

These questions are critical to understanding the world our students live in today and preparing them for their future as the world continues to change. But, most students will never learn the answers – because most schools to do not teach computer science.

Librarians, through the Libraries Ready to Code initiative, are taking a lead in learning about computer science and inspiring students to learn along with them. You probably didn’t study coding or computer science when you went to school – in fact, most schools today still aren’t teaching it. But, it’s never too late to start learning.

The Hour of Code is a great way to get started!

The Hour of Code started as a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to show that anybody can learn the basics of coding. It has since become a worldwide effort to celebrate computer science. People all over the world have completed over 10’s of millions of hours!

If you want to join in, it’s easy. You don’t need need any experience with computer science or coding – just encourage students to try out the self guided tutorials.

  • Sign up to host an Hour of Code at hourofcode.com so you can put your event on the map. You can host a self-service “Hour of Code” station at your library throughout Computer Science Education Week (Dec 4-10), or organize a special event where students come together.
  • Consider inviting students to come with their parents and learn as a family.
  • Pick an activity for people to do. Or, let the students pick.
  • Print out blank certificates for students to take home.

If you need more ideas, check out the how-to guide.

We don’t expect anybody to become an expert computer scientist in one hour, and that’s not our goal. The Hour of Code is a great way to introduce the students (especially girls and minorities) in your area to a new subject. More than 80% of organizers tell us that once they start, their students go beyond an hour!

If you enjoy it, consider going further and teaching computer science in your library year round. We have courses designed to run once a week – you can host a club for local students in your library. And, librarians have the opportunity to see all students – even those whose schools don’t give them this opportunity.

Pair it up with books about coding such as Secret Coders by Gene Yang, Click’d by Tamara Stone, Lauren Ipsum by Carlos Beuno, or Computational Fairy Tales by Jeremy Kubica.

About Shawnda Hines

Shawnda Hines is the press officer of the American Library Association’s Washington Office. Contact her at shines[at]alawash[dot]org.

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