THAT Computer Science Education Week Celebration
This week (December 9-15) we here at THAT Conference are celebrating Computer Science Education Week! An annual program dedicated to promoting computer science education and to inspire K-12 students to get interested in computer science. It’s an amazing opportunity to take an hour to learn something new, teach someone, volunteer, or just be inspired with all the amazing tutorials put out this time of year.
We connect deeply to this week and its mission here at THAT. We have built a family track for just this reason. To expose school aged kids of all ages to technologies, possibilities and professionals they would not normal have an opportunity to interact with. To remove the barriers, get them hands on to explore the world of computer science.
As we spend the weekend closing out Computer Science Education Week we want to take an opportunity to inspire you. Inspire you to learn, get involved, become an advocate, take an hour to program a dance party with your kid, family member or just for fun to play with something new.
Why is Computer Science Education Week in December?
Computer Science Education Week is held in recognition of the birthday of computing pioneer Admiral Grace Murray Hopper (December 9, 1906). This international event will be close to serving 1 billion hours around the world this year!!
Checkout this quick video to learn more about how Grace Hopper influenced our industry and the tech stack most of us work on every day.
Current State of Computer Science Education
The goal of Computer Science Week is to expose people who wouldn’t typically take time to dive into some code or connect up a circuit to program a light to blink. To remove the barriers and get everyone excited about this awesome field.
To get an idea of the current state of computer science education in the United States, here are some facts we are all working hard to improve:
- Computing makes up 2/3 of projected new jobs in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).
- Only 34 states have created K-12 computer science standards. Of those, 22 states don’t count computer science classes toward high school graduation math or science requirements.
- In the United States, nine in ten parents want their child to study computer science, but only one in four schools teach computer programming.
- Girls account for more than half of all Advanced Placement (AP) test-takers, yet boys outnumber girls 4:1 in computer science exams.
There is no right or wrong way to participate in Computer Science Education Week. You can register at the official Computer Science Education Week website (csedweek.org) and find a list of fun activities for all ages. Or, make up your own activity. Maybe it’s not a planned activity; you simply dust off the Raspberry Pi you got awhile back and take an hour to show someone how it works. It’s simply a matter of taking that 1 hour of dedicated time, learning, sharing and having a great time doing it.
You can search and find tons of great activities around the web. Here is a list of ones THAT Crew has been playing with:
Code.org: an expansive list of activities to pick from, but if you haven’t yet tried, the Dance Party (code.org/dance) is a must! Launched last year, Dance Party is all new for 2019. Great for all ages.
Codesters is highlighting 7 different projects! https://www.codesters.com/hoc/ Great way to learning programming through blocks and then see the real code it generates.
Code Your Hero (Google for Education) https://csfirst.withgoogle.com/c/cs-first/en/code-your-hero/overview.html Choose an everyday hero from their own life and build a story or game using code that gives their hero superpowers.
Tynker has over 500 challenges! https://www.tynker.com/hour-of-code/ Pick your age range and a challenge that looks fun to you and go for it!
Hour of Code has an amazing curated list from all around the web! Pick a platform, topic and explore https://hourofcode.com/us/learn
Be An Inspiration Year Round
In all of our local communities there is a need for professional involvement and support to bring all the K-12 computer science education to life. That could mean being a volunteer teacher at your local school, starting an after school robotics or code club, be a guest speaker/teacher, donating equipment or materials, or maybe being an advocate to bring legislative change.
Reach out to your local community and school system to find out what their biggest need is and how you can support and get involved. Beyond that, here are some resources to national organizations you can participate with:
TEALS: Helps bring computer science training and support into the schools. Always looking for professionals to help teach, assist teaching and even be guest speakers.
Girls Who Code: From elementary school programs to summer immersion programs for 10th and 11th graders, there are opportunities to start and/or participate locally.
FIRST Lego/Tech Challenge/Robotics: Lots of options at all ages, and opportunities to get help start or support a club and your local school.
CoderDojo: Start or get involved with these free, open and local programming clubs for young people.
We’d love to hear how you celebrate Computer Science Education Week! Reach out on socials, email us, share in Slack, however you want to share, we want to hear!
What ideas does this give you to bring to THAT Conference?
How can you share what you learned in a THAT Conference 2020 session?