Industry Players Collaborate to Take Teaching and Learning About Programming to the Next Level

by Kelly Walsh on October 22, 2013

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Vendors and Non-Profit Organizations Team to Provide Powerful Tools and Incentives to Facilitate the Learning of Programming Skills

Not surprisingly, the information technology sector is doing some cool things with leveraging technologies to teach. In this post we’ll look at the “Hour of Code” program, in which several players in the tech industry work together to encourage students to consider programming as a career. Along the way, we’ll learn about tools and resources available from a number of different technology service providers to help anyone learn coding or reinforce existing coding skills.

The “Hour of Code”
Code.org is, “a non-profit dedicated to growing computer science education by making it available in more schools, and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color”. Code.org has just launched the “Hour of Code” program, in which they team with Microsoft and a dozen other technology companies and with the Computing in the Core coalition. This effort lines up with Computer Science Education Week – December 9th through the 15th.

Hour of Code

The Hour of Code is a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify “code” and show that anyone can learn the basics to be a maker, a creator, an innovator.

In the U.S. and across the world, the demand for capable programmers keeps growing. U.S. Senator Marcus Rubio hits the nail on the head when he says, “Computer programmers are in great demand by American businesses, across the tech sector, banking, entertainment, you name it. These are some of the highest-paying jobs, but there are not enough graduates to fill these opportunities.” This situation is not unique to the U.S. And at the same, the ability for people to self-teach themselves these skills has never been better (and it keeps improving)!

Industry Players of all Sizes and Stripes Playing Different Roles in Facilitating Coding Education
Programmr.com is one of 12 online tutorial providers that have been asked to make an entertaining & interactive code tutorial for the event. I’ve been aware of Programmr.com for some time now – they’ve built a great, fun online tools set for self-teaching programming skills. Java, C++, C#, PHP, Android, iOS, SQL, and much more – they’ve got coding exercises, contests, a “Project of the Day”, and so much more to encourage and facilitate the learning of coding.

Companies big and small partner with Code.org to make the Hour of Code happen, and to encourage learning about coding on a daily basis. Microsoft’s, another partner in the Hour of Code, also offers the ongoing TEALS program — yet another example of these education and community focused efforts, in this case from one of the industry’s major players. TEALS (Technology Education and Literacy in Schools) places computer scientists in high school classrooms across the country, either virtually or in-person, and these technology professionals work with teachers to make computer science more accessible to students.

Clearly “it takes a village” to put together programs like the Hour of Code, and it’s a wonderful thing that vendors can team with non-profits to help make a difference.

Related Posts (if the above topic is of interest, you might want to check these out):
Study Shows 21st Century Skill Development Clearly Linked to Career Success
Book Review – Best Practices for Teaching with Emerging Technologies
Educational Apps that Teach Young Students about Money Management

About 

Kelly Walsh is Chief Information Officer, and an adjunct faculty member, at The College of Westchester in White Plains, NY and is the founder and author of EmergingEdTech.com. As an education technology advocate, he frequently delivers presentations on a variety of related topics at schools and conferences across the U.S. Walsh is also an author, and online educator, periodically running Flipped Class Workshops online. His latest eBook, the Flipped Class Workshop in a Book was published in September, 2013 and is available here. In his spare time Walsh also writes, records, and performs original (and cover) songs (look for "K. Walsh" on iTunes or Amazon.com or check out his original song videos on here on YouTube ).

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