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Politicians, tech giants promote 'Hour of Code' learning initiative

updated 05:32 am EST, Mon December 9, 2013

Scheme aims to teach 5 million students the basics of programming

The start of Computer Science Education Week (December 9-15) sees both the Democrat and Republican sides of the US government, as well as a number of celebrities and tech giants, endorsing the "Hour of Code." The initiative hopes for approximately five million students in 33,000 schools in 166 countries to spend time learning how to code, as it attempts to make programming more accessible.

President Barack Obama and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) both released statements urging people to take part, reports AllThingsD. Obama encouraged Americans by saying "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. No one's born a computer scientist, but with a little hard work, and some math and science, just about anyone can become one." In a similar video, Cantor calls coding "the necessary tool of this century."

A set of lessons have been provided by on its website for educators to use in classrooms, as well as for interested individuals. Engineers from Microsoft, Google, Twitter, and Facebook have collaborated together in offering the tutorial, which is designed to act like a game that teaches basic coding principles. Tutorials from Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, among others, are also available on the site.

Outside the classroom, all US-based Apple stores will be holding an open Hour of Code session on December 11 at 5pm, with Microsoft stores also offering similar tutorials throughout the week. Apple, Bing, Disney, MSN, Yahoo, and YouTube will all be featuring the campaign on their front pages, with Google starting the week by creating a Google Doodle for Cobol creator Grace Hopper.

by MacNN Staff



  1. bobolicious

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 08-15-02

    Geek week may spawn a new wave of programmers, and also potential hackers...
    100 years ago most were farmers. Which will we need more?

  1. Inkling

    Senior User

    Joined: 07-25-06

    I don't know which is more ridiculous, politicians who think they can predict the job market a decade or more out or politicians who think what they say is taken seriously by very many people

    The approval rating of members of Congress is at all time lows. Their approval rating varies from 6% (73% negative) according to The Economist to 11% (85% negative) according to CBS News. The average is 9.1% positive and 84.6% negative.

    That's all too predictable. The more Congress tries to do, the less it can do well. Those who want it to do much are angered by its failures. Those who want it to do less are angered by its meddling. Obamacare illustrates both.

    We'd all benefit by expecting less of our politicians and realizing that we need make our own decisions about our lives and regularly adjust those decisions to new situations. What's a good job market in 2013 may not be a good job market in 2020.

  1. climacs

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 09-06-01

    Well now that Obama has endorsed this initiative, I am sure that legions of teabaggers will work themselves into a fury over it. Not that a single one of them possess the intellect to learn computer code...

  1. climacs

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 09-06-01

    @Inkling: I semi-wholeheartedly endorse your sentiment. When I attended college in the 1980s, everyone was told to forget about liberal arts, that was only for losers who would never get a job in the real world. Everyone was supposed to get an MBA.

    Of course, if you had listened to the common wisdom, by the time you graduated you likely would have been part of the glut of MBAs while liberal arts majors were in high demand in the booming dot-com era.

    Lesson? Do what makes you happy, what holds your interest. If you decide on a career based on what other people tell y ou or solely based on the money, you are bound to be an unhappy person.

  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 01-25-07

    Frankly, I don't know why they're on about this. Programming resources are everywhere. Free, even.

  1. xomniron

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 10-17-13

    @climacs... Shame on you. Bad form, you biased and bigoted liberal. Shall I accuse you of being a racist, too? Your characterization of conservatives is completely un-called for. I am a career-long programmer, a conservative, an african-american, AND I prefer Apple products. How does that explode your stereotypes?

    Mr. Obama's endorsement of learning programming didn't bother me as much as how you turned it into a put down for those who believe the Federal gov't should have limited powers, as enumerated in the Constitution by the way. Teabagger is a very negative term. Uncalled for.

  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 01-25-07

    I'm not so sure the enumeration is entirely specific, but then I'm no Constitutional scholar either.

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