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Plan Now for Hour of Code

by Jennifer Bergland
Hour of Code

According to Code.org, 93% of Texas parents want their child’s school to offer computer science, but only 40% of Texas schools teach it. Maybe the reason for their interest is because there are 44,972 computing jobs open in the state of Texas in which the average salary is $93,518. The Hour of Code is a perfect event to help drum up support for computer science in your school, district, and community to help meet the demand of your parents and the job market. 

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The Basics

The Hour of Code is a one-hour introduction to computer science to demonstrate that anyone can learn the basics of coding. The effort was designed to demystify computer coding and to broaden participation in the field of computer science. The official Hour of Code takes place each year during Computer Science Education Week. The 2018 Computer Science Education Week will be December 3-9, but for all practical purposes, you can host an Hour of Code all year round.

Organizing an Hour of Code event at your school or in your community is easy. Their website provides step-by-step instructions on how to pull off the event, complete with activities your participants can use to learn to code in an hour.  They also provide ideas to get your community involved and a FAQ page that will answer almost every question you have about hosting an Hour of Code.

Five Easy Steps to Host a Hour of Code

Code.org has made is easy for you to host an hour of code. Here are the things they suggest you need to consider to make your event a success.

1. Logistics

The first thing you need to decide is where are you going to host the event. They have coding activities that you can use for any device, but you need to decide which devices you’ll use and what you’ll need to make sure they have the necessary bandwidth and power. Code.org even has activities to teach computational thinking skills without using a computer so your event can take place anywhere, even a public park! Just make sure you have reviewed what materials you’ll need for these types of “unplugged” activities.

2. Pick a Tutorial

You may be thinking, “This sounds great, but I don’t know how to code, so how could I help teach someone else?” All the codeactivities are self-guided so you don’t have to know how. You can learn to code at the same time as your participants! All you have to do is select a tutorial to use in your Hour of Code. All teachers can participate because Code.org has tutorials that are related to math, science, social studies, language arts, fine arts, and computer science. You can sort by subject area, grade level, and by the coding abilities of your participants.

3. Promote the Event

Now that you are all jazzed about hosting an Hour of Code, you want to make sure others know about it. Hour of Code has all types of promotional materials for you to use. They have handouts, videos, posters, social media, and different tools you can use to reach certain people in your community, including your elected officials.

 

4. Host an Hour of Code

Once you have taken care of all the pre-event details, it is now time to host the event. Have your participants go to code.org/learn and choose the tutorial you picked out. If any of your participants finish early, have them either help someone else or find another tutorial to complete.

5. Celebrate Your Success

When your participants complete the hour, be sure and celebrate. You might want to create a photo booth where they could take selfies and post their photos on their favorite social media site using #HourOfCode as your hashtag. You could also create a certificate to be given out at the end of the hour.

Hour of Code events are full of energy and excitement. It is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate that everyone can code. Who knows, you may spark an interest in coding for the next Steve Jobs! What are you waiting for? Get busy planning your event!

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