This week is “Computer Science Education Week” and is being celebrated around the world:
Almost 200 governments, school districts, and nonprofits pledge to expand CS for millions of students, globally. Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Montana, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania, all announced plans to expand CS in schools, joined by 76 U.S. school districts and 80 nonprofits. Internationally, 20 nonprofits and entire countries pledged to expand CS programs for 20,000 teachers and over 2 million students.
Representatives from LawToolBox, Microsoft Crayon teamed up with IAMCP Women In Technology to help celebrate “Computer Science Education Week” by sponsoring an #HourOfCode” program at one of our local schools, Southmoor Elementary in Denver, Colorado. See, https://hourofcode.com/us/learn. “Hour of Code” is a federal initiative started under the Obama Administration to encourage and promote an understanding and appreciation for building technology instead of just using it, and to encourage students to learn how to code. See, Obama video.
It’s EASY to organize your own “Hour of Code”! See, https://hourofcode.com/us/how-to. The idea first was first suggested by Jonathon Friebert from the Microsoft Voices for Innovation (twitter: @vfiorg), so we took the idea and raised it at a meeting of the local chapter of @WIT_Denver (Women in Technology), which was just recently launched by Lesly Kenney from Crayon (twitter: @LeslyKenney), Stephanie Martin from Microsoft (twitter: @MeetStepMa), and our own Carol Lynn Grow from LawToolBox (twitter: @CarolLynnGrow). Once a few highly motivated people decided to take action everything came together very quickly!
At first the idea was to limit the #HourOfCode to a single classroom, given our short timeline, but after meeting with the Discovery program coordinator, Jonathan Miller (a program at Southmoor Elementary where kids get dropped off early so their parents can get to work), we mutually decided to do the program for the whole school at 7:45 am so that working parents would have a chance to attend. I contacted and invited our local US representative for Denver, Diana DeGette, and Lesley Kenney contacted the local news stations to invite them as well. The Southmoor PTO president loved the idea and promoted the event to all parents through an email blast. See, https://hourofcode.com/us/promote/resources
Southmoor Elementary provided computers for every student willing to show up, so all that was left to do was buy donuts and coffee! We had over 65 children and over 20 parents show up for our first ever Hour of Code event. The kids were amazing and were immersed in their coding activities! There are plenty of resources where any child can get started with coding. Check out https://support.code.org/hc/en-us or Code.org’s new App Lab activity.
9News Denver showed up (check out the story here) as well and interviewed us during the event, but Representative DeGette was stuck in Washington D.C. so couldn’t attend. There was so much interest and enthusiasm from the children that during that hour, the parents decided to put together a Coding Club where a few parents volunteered to lead the club!
This event was great fun for the kids, we were amazed at how many kids were already experts and for those that were just getting started how quickly they fearlessly took to introductory coding. Hopefully we planted a few seeds that will grow over the next several years in many of the children! And … hopefully our story has inspired a few other people to undertake their own “Hour of Code” adventure in their neighborhoods! If we can be of help, please contact us!
For other social from the event, please check out and share the Denver Women in Technology social media pages – we will be continuing to do more posts throughout the day to drive awareness: