NORMAN — The Hour of Code is coming. It cannot be stopped. Resistance is futile. You may even decide to happily become assimilated.
At 10 a.m. Saturday, the Norman Public Library Computer Training Center is hosting a session of the Hour of Code, part of a massive campaign to recruit 10 million people to try one hour of computer science during Computer Science Education Week, which starts Monday. Call the library at 701-2697 to register.
“It’s 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,” said Nancy Rimassa, the library’s Computer Training Center manager. “We’ll provide a variety of self-guided tutorials that anybody can do, on a browser, tablet or smartphone. We’ll have plenty of staff on hand to show you the way and answer questions.”
Lest you think the Hour of Code is only for kids, consider the following: computer programming jobs are growing three times faster than future programmers entering the field, according to event organizers Code.org.
More than 50 percent of all projected math and science occupations are in computing occupations. Computing occupations are among the highest-paying jobs for new college graduates, yet fewer than 2.4 percent of college students graduate with a degree in computer science. There are no age limits on graduating from college.
By the year 2020, there will be one million more computer science-related jobs than computer science students to fill those jobs. This will represent a $500 billion opportunity just waiting to be tapped. This also will represent a huge opportunity for women and minority groups.
Fewer than 20 percent of Advanced Placement computer science students are women. Fewer than 10 percent are Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino. In 2012, fewer than 3,000 African American and Hispanic students took the high school advanced placement computer science exam.
While 57 percent of bachelor’s degrees are earned by women, just 12 percent of computer science degrees are awarded to women.
The Hour of Code, a self-guided activity for people of all ages, promises to “change the conversation around computer science.” The tutorials will work on a laptop, tablet, smartphone or even with no computer at all.
However, if you have a laptop, tablet or smartphone, plan on bringing it. No prior computer experience is needed. Tutorials will feature lectures from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft’s Bill Gates, as well as artwork from popular games Angry Birds and Plants vs. Zombies.
The Hour of Code is just the first step. Code.org is unveiling professional development for teachers and 20 more hours of curriculum that can be done on your own time. They also need help from adults to advocate for computer science in their local communities.
Who is behind this campaign? Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, the Boys and Girls Clubs, the College Board, Gates, Zuckerberg and more than 100 others have united to back the Hour of Code campaign.
The Computing in the Core Coalition and Code.org are organizing Computer Science Education Week 2013. The week celebrates the birthday of computing pioneer Admiral Grace Murray Hopper (Dec. 9, 1906).
Dave Moore has been performing computer consulting, repairs, security and networking in Oklahoma since 1984. He also teaches computer safety workshops for public and private organizations. He can be reached at 405-919-9901 or www.davemoorecomputers.com
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