LAUSD students among millions to learn an ‘Hour of Code’
Craig Clough | December 1, 2014
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Students at LA Unified will be among millions around the world participating next week in the Hour of Code event, designed to get kids interested in how to build computer codes.
After an estimated 15 million students participated last year, the Hour of Code is aiming for 100 million students worldwide to participate during next week’s Computer Science Education Week. The event is being billed as “the largest learning event in history.”
The event is organized by Code.org, a nonprofit with the goal of expanding children’s participation in computer sciences, and features dozens of corporate sponsors, including Apple, Microsoft and Amazon.
The Hour of Code event is voluntary, but LA Unified is encouraging schools and teachers to participate. Last year, around 160,000 of LA Unified’s 650,000 students took part, and the district is making a push for even more to join in this year, according to Ramon Mella, coordinator of Organizational Change Management for LA Unified’s Office of Curriculum and Instruction.
“We want to showcase how we are expanding the computer science education program in the district,” said Mella, referring to LA Unified’s announcement in October that it is partnering with Code.org to offer computer science curriculum to all its students at no cost to the district.
The Hour of Code is not a set hour. and students can participate in the program at any time during the week by choosing from different Code.org self-guided video tutorials for students from kindergarten through high school. Tech industry leaders Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg will be appearing in some of the tutorial videos, along with Disney computer animated characters Anna and Elsa from the hit film “Frozen.”
To help kickoff Computer Science Education Week for the district, North Hollywood High School is hosting an event on Dec. 8 intended to promote LA Unified’s computer science curriculum.
Guest speakers from Microsoft, tech startup Omaze.com, Code.org and LA Unified board member Tamar Galatzan, will be speaking to the entire school from the computer lab via closed circuit television before some of the students demonstrate the basics of coding.
Click here to see a video about the Hour of Code.