Kids learn computer science at Hour of Code event

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On Monday, students at Waterman Elementary School in Harrisonburg participated in Hour of Code.

More than 70 school districts agreed to expand computer-science education in some way, Code.org said.

Hadi Partovi told VentureBeat in a phone interview that the nonprofit suggests states take three steps to increase students' access to computer science classes.

Organizers believe middle school is the ideal age to introduce girls to opportunities they could have in high school. The "Hour of Code" events are sponsored in partnership with Code.org with the goal of teaching computer science in a fun and creative way that appeals to children of all ages and backgrounds.

"This is an all-hands-on-deck week for us at Microsoft", said Jane Broom, senior director of education programs and policy at Microsoft Philanthropies.

Students try out the Minecraft Tutorial in Tesla STEM High School in Redmond Washington
Students try out the Minecraft Tutorial in Tesla STEM High School in Redmond Washington

To help promote a strong workforce to make sure North Carolina is prepared for the jobs of today and tomorrow, Governor Roy Cooper has declared December 4-10, 2017, Computer Science Education Week.

Founded in 2012, Code.org is perhaps best known for its Hour of Code campaign, events held around the world that give students a one hour introduction to computer science and coding. Code.org, which has raised more than $60 million from Microsoft, Facebook, Google, and Salesforce, was one of the first companies to tap into the demand for preteen programming literacy.

"If only 1 percent of the girls actively learning on Code.org continued past high school, they'd outnumber the gender gap in university CS", Partovi said.

Celebrities have joined the movement this year to boost computer science education. "Our mission is for everyone on the planet to achieve more, so when we see a disconnect like the one I just mentioned, it creates a sense of urgency to create more equity of opportunity for all students".

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