Logo: University of Southern California

Helping K-12 Schools Participate in Hour of Code

"Hour of Code" encourages everyone to write a few lines of code.
By: Katie Mills
December 02, 2014 —
Kidscomputing 580
 "Hour of Code" encourages students to learn more about computer science.

Aiming to encourage 100 million people worldwide to try coding from Dec. 8 - 14, the Hour of Code offers an easy and engaging array of one-hour coding projects, designed to demonstrate that anyone can learn the basics of computer science. This exciting grass-roots push is sponsored by the nonprofit organization, Code.org, and attracted 15 million students last year from around the globe.

Many of USC Viterbi's partner schools are participating by having students try at least one of the movement's simple and fun coding projects. For elementary students, one option uses the coding language Scratch to enable young coders to program the ice skating patterns for Elsa of Disney's film, Frozen. For more adventurous students, the Hour of Code offers modules teaching JavaScript or Python. Each project offers tutorials to get people started. There are even "unplugged" activities that teach computational thinking without a computer. The Hour of Code takes place during Computer Science Education Week, Dec. 8 - 14, 2014.

USC Viterbi's K-12 STEM Outreach program VAST -- Viterbi Adopt-a-School, Adopt-a-Teacher -- works with many schools and teachers. To encourage participation in the Hour of Code, VAST will offer two opportunities for teachers to connect with our computer science undergraduates in one of VAST's "Code Dojos." The Japanese word "dojo" names a place where students gather to help each other learn; the term traditionally refers to places where martial arts students gather. On Monday, December 8, from noon - 2 p.m. and on Wednesday, December 10, from 9 - 11 a.m., VAST's "Code Dojos" offer informal drop-in sessions staffed by USC Viterbi undergraduate students majoring in computer science. These resident coding experts will field questions or talk about their own experiences coding. Teachers can drop by in person or via Google Hangouts for help on one of the coding projects or simply to have their students chat with a USC Viterbi student about how she or he took an interest in coding to a major in computer science. See this link for more information on "CS@SC," or Computer Science at USC. For more information on VAST's "Code Dojos" or to RSVP, teachers can email Katie Mills, VAST Administrator.

"The Hour of Code is designed to demystify code," said Hadi Partovi, founder and CEO of Code.org. "In one week last year, 15 million students tried an Hour of Code. Now we're aiming for 100 million worldwide to prove that the demand for relevant 21st century computer science education crosses all borders and knows no boundaries." The site offers tips for teachers on how to bring Hour of Code into their classroom plus prizes their classes can win, including an all expenses-paid trip for a class to Washington D.C.

Hope to see you on Google+ on Monday, Dec. 8, from noon - 2 p.m. and on Wednesday, Dec. 10, from 9 - 11 a.m. Teachers and students are welcome to come to USC during those times to meet face-to-face with our coders; please contact Katie Mills.