Lifting the veil: Teaching kids to write computer code - WNCT

Lifting the veil: Teaching kids to write computer code

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Many schools have computer classes but they may be missing an important component. 

Most classes focus on how to use programs, but few teach students how to create those programs.

Now, there's a movement supported by Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg to change what kids learn about computers.

An hour in the classroom, that's all the nonprofit, Code.org wants.  Hour of Code is an event that aims to teach kids about programming.  It takes place December 9th to the 15th, during Computer Science

Education Week.

“The idea is to get a one hour basic introduction to this field that is sort of behind this veil of mystery.  This veil that separates the average person from the Mark Zuckerbergs,” said Hadi Partovi, Founder and CEO of Code.org.

To help educators introduce the topic to students, Code.org has compiled a range of lessons.  Mark Zuckerberg may not draw them in, but angry birds might.

“Each level that you progress through the game, you're learning a little bit more how the computer science works,” said Partovi.

West Borough Middle School in San Francisco is one of nearly 10,000 schools across the globe planning to participate.

It gets them to really understand how to go about doing certain tasks and understanding the benefits of technology,” said Joe Toy, West Borough Middle School teacher.

Hour of code is backed by dozens of tech companies and luminaries, like Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey and Bill Gates.

File sharing service Dropbox is donating storage for the event.  CEO, Drew Houston hopes students get as hooked on coding as he did.

“My dad showed me how to use a computer and actually showed me how to write my first line of code,” said Houston.

It's unlikely the Common Core education standards will be revised to include coding.  Still, 60 minutes could bring some change.

“You can build up something more complicated that you didn't even realize and have that little a-ha moment of I actually got a computer to do something for me,” Partovi said.

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