Computer Science Education Week is held annually in recognition of Admiral Grace Hopper’s birthday, the second week of December. Hopper, a computer science pioneer who was awarded the National Medal of Technology and the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her computer science achievements, was one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer.
Hour of Code takes place during this week and is aimed at inspiring and engaging people, especially K–12 students, to participate in computer science activities during this global computer science event. Millions of students and teachers in more than 180 countries participate annually in the Hour of Code, which is sponsored by Code.org.
Code.org is a nonprofit dedicated to expanding access to computer science in schools and increasing participation by young women and students from other underrepresented groups. The Code.org website (https://code.org//learn) hosts a plethora of free coding lessons and resources, both plugged and unplugged, for learners of all ages, to encourage schools to include more computer science classes in their curricula.
Coding develops students’ problem-solving skills, logic and creativity, and it gives them a foundation for success in 21st-century careers. The Rice University School Mathematics Project (RUSMP) is a Code.org regional partner and encourages and supports participation in the annual event.
If we want students to be confident in a digital world, we must ensure they are exposed to computer science in elementary school. When students are given opportunities to engage in technology applications, a world of possibilities will spring forth!
This year, RUSMP spotlighted Houston ISD’s Montgomery Elementary, which celebrated Hour of Code for 12 days. Students learning virtually or face-to-face participated in activities that used Block Coding, Scratch, Java Script or Python. Some of the Hour of Code Block Coding or Java Script activities included familiar characters from Dance Party, “Frozen” or “Star Wars.”
Fourth-grade students, who had experience in Block Coding, participated in challenge missions with the DroneBlock’s drone simulator. School principal and RUSMP advisory board member Faye McNeil noted that, “If we want students to be confident in a digital world, we must ensure they are exposed to computer science in elementary school. When students are given opportunities to engage in technology applications, a world of possibilities will spring forth!”
James Wigfall, Houston ISD computer science program manager, took part in the Hour of Code celebration at the school and commented that HISD is teaching these important foundational skills to prepare students to compete in tomorrow’s economy.
— Carolyn White
RUSMP Director of Mathematics Programs
— Anne Papakonstantinou