News from Dr. Cruz: Hour of Code
Many of us consider computer science to be complex and even mysterious. Last year, only 3 percent of Central Texas high school graduates, or fewer than 500 students regionwide, completed even one computer science course.
But with the right support, elementary students can also learn to write computer code. For some, this may be the beginning of an interest that turns into a lifelong career in computer science and programming. The success of our local economy is closely tied to attracting more students into this work.
That’s why I’m supporting efforts to expand access to computer science for teachers and students. This January, as part of a pilot program in partnership with Google, the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce and other local companies, 100 tech employees will talk to some 4,000 tenth-grade students about enrolling in a computer science course before they finalize their schedules for next year.
In support of Computer Science Education Week Dec. 8–14, I invite teachers and other staff to participate in Hour of Code, a worldwide event to draw attention to the fun side of programming. The Hour of Code is a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify code and show that anybody can learn the basics.
You can organize an Hour of Code event at your school or in your community — like in an extracurricular club, non-profit or at work. Or, just try it yourself when Dec. 8 arrives.
For more information about Austin ISD's participation in Hour of Code, please contact Instructional Technology Specialist Vanessa Jones firstname.lastname@example.org.
Paul Cruz, Ph.D.