The Hour of Code is approaching: How can your school take part?
- With Computer Science Education Week fast approaching on Dec. 4-10, Edutopia offers a valuable roundup of resources for schools looking to implement an "Hour of Code," as promoted by Code.org.
- Aside from resources for simply running the event, there are tutorials for utilizing robots and Minecraft, as well as lessons across a variety of grade levels that educators can use.
- It doesn't end at the Hour of Code, however, as additional resources offer strategies for teaching students to code whether they have access to a computer or not, teaching coding across curriculum, and creating interactive holiday cards with Scratch.
That last point is perhaps the most important: While the Hour of Code can provide a valuable gateway into coding for students of all age levels, building and maintaining their interest in the skill will likely take longer than one hour (or one week) set aside during the entire school year. The skill is expected to be invaluable in an economy that's shifting the traditional idea of what constitutes a "blue collar" job due to automation's impact on traditional labor. The future workforce will need to know how to program the machines taking old labor positions, or how to program the apps and other platforms that are increasingly necessary during day-to-day life.
Of course, teaching computer science is easier said than done for many schools due to budgetary constraints and the realities of geography. Some regions simply don't have highly-skilled educators locally available in that field or the money to attract them. For districts and schools in that situation, forging partnerships with industry and nonprofits — and perhaps also taking advantage of videoconferencing tools — is a necessary path for administrators to explore.
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