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Computer Science Education Week

Computer Science Education Week

Whether you want to be a doctor, teacher, or artist, many careers are beginning to incorporate computer science into their skillset. Every app, game, and computer program starts with a code. “Coding is the act of creating technology rather than just using it,” says Hadi Partovi. He is a cofounder of the nonprofit site, which promotes participation in computer science.

To help students learn about coding, established Computer Science Education Week. Computer Science Education Week is designed to celebrate computer science, and give students the opportunity to explore coding in a fun way. Organizers say it gives students a chance to build a foundation that they can apply to a variety of pursuits in the future.

A computer science class at Inwood Early College for Health & Information Technologies participates in the Hour of Code.
A computer science class at Inwood Early College for Health & Information Technologies participates in the Hour of Code.
Held this year from December 8 to December 12, students in schools around the globe participated in the Hour of Code. During this week, they used various coding programs and games to complete challenges in computer science.

Inwood Early College for Health & Information Technologies, a school in New York City, worked with Microsoft’s YouthSpark for Computer Science Education Week program. YouthSpark is an initiative created by Microsoft to encourage young students to use and develop their skills with technology, and learn how those skills can be applied to everyday life. “We are working to make computer science a requirement in schools,” Microsoft citizenship director Donna Woodall told TFK.

According to the College Board and the Computer Science Teachers Association, only one out of 10 schools in the United States OFFERS computer-science classes. Programs like YouthSpark and aim to change that so that more students have the opportunity to learn computer programming.

A Lesson For Everyone

To fully incorporate computer science into a school curriculum, educators are finding ways to show how coding can help inform other subjects, like English and Science. Many of the programs students participate in to learn coding use parts of speech as a system of coding. Students are challenged to arrange graphic blocks with different pieces of text to form logical sentences.

“[My computer science lesson] has to relate to something else I’ve already taught,” says Inwood teacher Benroy Taylor. “Students need to know that computer science can help them with other subjects.”

Students in Taylor’s class agree. Olivia Douglas, 14, wants to be a pediatric cardiologist someday. She sees coding as a skill that can be applied to a career in health and medicine. “I’d like to develop an app that can help people monitor their heart at home if they are unable to get to a hospital,” she says. Other students had similar answers, saying coding is teaching them ways to develop programs that suit their own personal interests.

Though Computer Science Education Week is over for this year, the program’s developers hope it has sparked the beginning of an interest in computer science that students will continue to grow. Technology is everywhere around us,” says Partovi. “Teaching kids how it works and how it impacts society is a foundational thing to learn in the 21st century.”