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President Barack Obama participates in the Hour of Code event
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2014 10:24 AM

Dec. 8-14 is National Computer Science Education Week, in which teachers and students pledged to focus on the subject in their classrooms. In conjunction with this week, people across the country participated in an Hour of Code where participants spent one hour learning how to write code. Even President Barack Obama wrote code as part of his opening remarks on the national event. 

"All across the country, people are doing code," the President said in his statement. "And part of what we're realizing is that we're starting too late when it comes to making sure that our young people are familiar not just with how to play a video game, but how to create a video game."

President Obama also drew attention to, an organization that helps kids learn how to code by creating video games that guide them and that sponsored the Hour of Code. In fact, the President played one such game in order to write his line of code. What's more, President Obama stressed that young women are underrepresented in STEM fields, and schools need to focus on giving girls the opportunities they need to pursue interests in computer science.

Computer science in schools
The Common Core State Standards have pushed the bounds on education to offer students a more rigorous and competitive set of goals. The Standards are designed to help students prepare for college and careers, but they only cover mathematics and English/language arts. Unfortunately, that leaves out computer science. Some states have realized the value of computer science, as it's a subject that teaches students skills they'll need for 21st century IT jobs. According to Education Week, seven states have programs that allow students to take computer science classes for credit in math and science tracks. More states are considering doing the same.

This setup acknowledges that computer science uses information and skills present in both the math and science fields, and it encourages students to try a class. Coding may seem difficult to people who have never done it, but if students pursue their interests while young, they'll be proficient by the time they graduate. 

Participating in the events
Schools can participate in National Computer Science Education Week by devoting a bit of time to the subject. From teaching kids basic coding to discussing the parts of a computer (such as a motherboard, RAM, etc.), educators have plenty of topics they can cover to introduce students to computer science.