Even though it's 9 months away it's never too early to start thinking about Computer Science Education Week!
The 2019 event is scheduled for December 9-15th. Bio::Neos has participated in previous events since 2015. I personally coordinated the 2018 event at Garner Elementary School, with some help from volunteers Matt Lapka and Gary Vogt (who didn't even laugh at my "floss" dancing). The 2018 event was particularly fun because we did an unplugged activity with the students to allow a greater age range and complete participation. While having a good time and dancing in the classroom, we were also learning about algorithms and computational thinking.
Computer Science Education Week is an annual event where students from kindergarten through 12th grade are encouraged to explore computer science. It was created in 2012 by code.org. It is celebrated in December to honor the birthday of Admiral Grace Hopper, a pioneer in computer science and U.S. Navy rear admiral. It has grown to include over 180 countries and 220,545 events were registered in 2018. Registration for Hour of Code will open in October. The good news is that you don't have to register to participate and you don't need to wait until December to try an activity, it is all freely available year round!
Whether you are a teacher, parent, or volunteer teaching coding to younger students might sound like an overwhelming task. Teaching coding can feel daunting, even for an experienced programmer. The good news is that code.org has created a dizzying array of resources including forums, videos, and information about careers in tech. You can even find volunteers who have signed up to participate as mentors or guest speakers. With the easy access to support available much of the worry about how to teach is removed.
There are also a lot of resources for students who are interested and want to participate on their own. It's always worth the time to look through projects published by other students. Seeing things that are created by same-age peers can encourage students to try out new things and come up with their own solutions. Another item of interest for students might be checking out what political leaders, technology professionals, athletes, and celebrities have to say about why computer science is such an important skill.
Are you ready to start planning your own activity? You can find Hour of Code Activities to suit any student's interests. There are activities based around favorite characters like The Grinch or Wonder Woman and activities based on topics like mathematics and art. There are even unplugged activities that can be completed without a computer or internet connection. Activities are also available in multiple languages and for students who are new to coding and those that have some experience.
We'll share more information about Hour of Code events around the ICR area closer to the event. Promoting computer science by contacting your local school district and representatives is a great way to get the ball rolling on starting an event. And getting local businesses involved in the K-12 education experience only enhances the benefit to the students.
Do you want to learn more about our work with local school districts to promote computer science education? Please visit us on LinkedIn or read about some of our past events on our blog. If you are a business or educator interested in how you can get involved with events like Computer Science Education Week contact us to learn more.
Please join us in 2019! We hope to make it the biggest CSEdWeek for the ICR yet!!