In January of this year, brothers Ali Partovi and Hadi Partovi launched a non-profit organization called Code.org with the aim of making coding and computer science accessible to the masses. The movement is catching on — in celebration of the arrival of Computer Science Education Week from December 9th through December 15th, President Barack Obama and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor separately issued video statements asking every student in the U.S. to learn to code.
Code.org also officially launched a new campaign called Hour of Code timed in conjunction with Computer Science Education Week. For Hour of Code, Partovis and Code.org have been planning for the last few months to encourage every teacher in the U.S. to dedicate one hour of class time to educate their students on Computer Science and programming, writes by Rip Empson of TechCrunch.
The Partovis started Code.org after realizing that 9 out of 10 schools in the U.S. don’t offer Computer Science classes. Now most schools only offer Computer Science and programming classes as electives — not as subjects that can be taken for credit. The Partovis and Code.org have spent months campaigning and lobbying for change at the state level, and it’s beginning to work.
According to Hadi Partovi, their first goal is to request states to offer Computer Science classes for credit. Partovi expects more than five million students in 33,000 classrooms across 167 countries to participate in the Hour of Code.
To help Code.org get there, both Apple and Microsoft have signed on and will be hosting an Hour of Code at every single one of their retail outlets. Apple has a listing on its website advertising the one hour course, which is a one-hour intro to computer science that aims to emphasize that anyone can learn the basics of code and which will be very interactive.
In addition to Apple and Microsoft, at least 100 other technology companies signed on. Google search celebrated Computer Science Education Week with a Google Doodle that remembered Grace Hopper, an American computer scientist and creator of the Cobol programming language. Google put a link to Hour of Code beneath its doodle.
Code.org saw the campaign featured on the home pages of Yahoo, Youtube, Apple, MSN, Bing and Disney throughout the week. In addition, a bevy of politicians, stars and athletes pitched in to draw attention to the campaign.
Among the recognizable names are actors and musicians like Shakira, Ashton Kutcher, Angela Bassett and athletes like Chris Bosh, Warren Sapp and Dwight Howard, along with tech leaders like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Susan Wojcicki.
President Obama, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Senator Cory Booker, Newt Gingrich and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan released videos in support of the Hour of Code.
Code.org has developed online tutorials with the help of partner companies, universities and non-profits to help support the Hour of Code campaign, with video tutorials from Zuckerberg, Chris Bosh and Bill Gates, among others.