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Celebrating Coding!

05 December 2017
The first-ever coding Doodle marks the start of Computer Science Education Week. Image credit: Google Inc.

So that's why Google had that kids coding Doodle on its home page Monday morning: to celebrate the start of Computer Science Education Week, which runs from Dec. 4-10, 2017. An annual program dedicated to inspiring K-12 students to take an interest in computer science, CSEdWeek began in 2009 and is organized by nonprofit organization Code.org.

One of the most visible aspects of the program is the Hour of Code. Designed to demystify coding and broaden participation in the field of computer science, the Hour of Code is comprised of a collection of one-hour student-guided coding tutorials. Since its inception in 2013, over 100 million students have tried an Hour of Code. The tutorials are available for all ages ("from 4 to 104"), and written in over 45 languages. At publication time, 126,840 Hour of Code events were registered in countries all over the globe — a number that has increased since the time this article started to be written.

The goal of the "hour," of course, is to inspire those who participate to go beyond that small taste – to learn for a whole day, or a whole week, or a lifetime. As stated on the site, "What all participants learn in an hour is that we can do this."

The coding game aspect of Monday's Doodle, with its task to program the movements of a blocky bunny and get it to efficiently pick up carrots, represents a good preview of kids coding. According to Google, it's based on the Scratch programming language developed at MIT and is the first-ever coding Doodle. It celebrates a 50-year history of coding languages for kids, which began with the development of Logo – another MIT innovation that explored math and science concepts through programming the movements of a turtle.

By the way, CSEdWeek takes place during the week of Grace Hopper's birthday (Dec. 9, 1906). Hopper was a computer programming pioneer who popularized the idea of machine-independent programming languages based on English words; her work led to the COBOL language, which is still in use today.

To contact the author of this article, email tony.pallone@ieeeglobalspec.com


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