Ever since the dawn of computing, computer programming has always been a subject that has been heavily influenced by math and science. Just the thought of programming, where a person sits in front of a computer staring at lines and lines of code on end, does not sound like an exciting career to most. However, there is one initiative that has recently come to pass to let the "Average Joe" create a simple program without having to break a sweat or strain their brain cells. This initiative has been called The Hour of Code.
Earlier this week, President Barack Obama released a video on YouTube that challenges Americans of all ages, races, and credos to learn a programming language. Along with this challenge, President Obama has teamed up with various students, teachers, businesses, and non-profit organizations that are taking steps to support and enhance Computer Science within the American school system. With this in mind, President Obama challenges Americans not just be participants of technology, but to engage in the creation of it:
"Don't just buy a new video game, make one. Don't just download the latest app, help design it. Don't just play on your phone, program it."
President Obama continues his speech by stating that learning how to program code is not just important for your future, but it is important for the country's future as well. The more programmers our country has, the more America will stay on the "cutting edge" of technology.
To help give the public a taste of how computer programming has evolved, along with how fun it can be to create something using a computer, The Hour of Code (THOC) website will show you. To describe what THOC is all about, I have provided a brief summary from the site's about page below.
"Code.org is a non-profit dedicated to expanding participation in computer science education by making it available in more schools, and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color. Our vision is that every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn computer programming. We believe computer science should be part of the core curriculum in education, alongside other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses, such as biology, physics, chemistry and algebra."
On THOC's website, participants can program code using the following methods:
- Tutorials for beginners - Learn the basic concepts of Computer Science with drag and drop programming.
- No device or internet? Try 'unplugged' computer science - Using a pre-defined "Robot Vocabulary," students will figure out how to guide each other to accomplish specific tasks without discussing them first.
- Tutorial apps for any device - Learn core programming logic, starting from super-basic programming, for ages 4+, on iOS or Android (or Web browser)
- Other programming languages - Choose from 3 activities designed to give you your first experience programming.
- Make your own apps - Know some programming already? Learn to make an iPhone game in an hour!
- Other learning options - A collection of 8 fun activities for children of all ages to try programming.
Are you still not convinced that programming can be easy? See actress Angela Bassett, actor Ashton Kutcher, and singer Shakira get involved with The Hour of Code.[Image source: YouTube screenshot (1:02)]