This afternoon, the White House will hold its Computer Science for All Summit, part of an initiative announced earlier this year to promote computer science learning for American students. The initiative is intended to include more students in computer science, including underrepresented groups of students, especially since job opportunities in the CS field are growing, with 51 percent of all STEM jobs are projected to be in a CS-related field by 2018. Although all of this seems to be happening far away in Washington D.C., UTCS is doing its part to contribute to President Obama’s #CSForAll campaign and bring computer science to more children and teens through a program called the Hour of Code.
A program by Code.org, the Hour of Code is an event hosted at a school or organization in which students new to computer science learn the basics of coding within an hour through tutorials and activities that range in skill level from kindergarten to high school. This December during Computer Science Education Week, UTCS students, alumni, and faculty will again participate in the Hour of Code by volunteering for a total of 300 hours teaching approximately 3,500 students in elementary, middle, and high schools throughout Austin.
UT participated in an Hour of Code event for the first time last year during Computer Science Education Week, which was December 7-11. About 100 volunteers made up of UTCS faculty, staff, alumni, and undergraduate and graduate students helped run the Hour of Code for over 200 hours, reaching over 2,300 students at 10 different Austin schools ranging from pre-kindergarten up through high school.
The one-hour tutorials that are taught at an Hour of Code event are not intended to make all participants expert coders, according to their website. Instead, the event is supposed to encourage participation among a diverse group of students and get them interested in computer science classes.
“It’s all about reaching out and having everyone participating in an hour of coding and showing them what computer science can do,” UTCS lecturer Alison Norman said. “This is all about getting CS to schools and showing them what it’s all about.”
Today at 1:00 pm, the White House Computer Science for All Summit will be livestreamed at www.whitehouse.gov/live, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy will be tweeting about the event from @WhiteHouseOSTP with the hashtag #CSForAll.