Looking Back on Computer Science Education Week 2014

| Aimee Sprung


Computer Science Education Week in Massachusetts this year just blew me away. More than 1000 events, thousands of kids doing the #HourOfCodeMA, from Somerville to Revere to Eastie, so many school districts getting involved—all to further awareness of the vitality of computer science education in schools.

The amount of support and the excitement of the kids as they coded—as they created technology—was incomparably inspiring and motivating. For me as a STEM advocate at Microsoft, it’s a reminder for why I do what I do. And a reminder to keep this movement growing.

We put together a Twitter recap of the week below:

On Friday, December 5, we had a special visitor to kick off Computer Science Education Week at Microsoft New England: Congressman Joe Kennedy. And he didn’t just stand for a photo opp — he actually did the first #HourOfCode in Massachusetts with our own Eric Jewart, an Office 365 Engineer and volunteer for our YouthSpark TEALS Program. Kennedy admitted he had taken CS classes in college, but playing Plants vs. Zombies by coding was something totally different for him: “Even though I took a couple computer science classes in college, those courses were nothing like what I experienced during my visit. The Hour of Code is fun, interactive, and most importantly, it’s teaching students how computer science is evolving while providing the skills necessary for the modern workplace.” Read his recap here.

Here’s a close-up of the official #CSEdWeek proclamation by Governor Deval Patrick, which began it’s journey here at Microsoft New England!

Monday got off to a great start when we checked the hourofcode.org site and saw that Massachusetts had surpassed 1000 #HourOfCode events!

Tuesday was a jam-packed day! We started with Mayor Marty Walsh and the MassTLC Ed Foundation, doing the #HourOfCode at Josiah Quincy Elementary.

At the same time, Cambridge Public Schools ran an Hour of Code with Mayor David Maher, the Klotech Project and Lesley University’s Kreg Hanning.

Wednesday was all about Somerville. Thanks to Mayor Curtatone, Shawn Szturma of Pegasystems and a parent in Somerville, every student in Somerville did an hour of code last week! Shawn worked with the Superintendent’s office and the Mayor’s office to coordinate all the volunteers to support CS Ed Week. Heather Carey from the MassTLC Ed Foundation even snapped an awesome photo of me teaching kids how to code!

On Thursday of #CSEdWeek, we headed to Revere to present Code.org’s grant for hosting the #HourOfCodeMA and furthering computer science education. Mayor Dan Rizzo and Paul Dakin, Superintendent of Revere Public Schools, joined us and the MassTLC Ed Foundation for the #CSEdWeek assembly.

The most important thing we need to remember is that computer science education does not end with #CSEdWeek. We must continue to strive to make this a part of every curriculum, in elementary, middle and high schools. In Massachusetts right now, there is one graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in IT/CS to every 17 jobs open in IT/CS. We need to keep working for the future of our children.

So how can you help?

Teachers – Take advantage of local professional development available through MassCAN.

Parents – Reach out to your local schools and policy makers and encourage inclusion of computer science curriculum. Explore after school, vacation and summer camp CS offerings listed on the MassTLC Education Foundation website (http://www.masstlcef.org).

Students – Try more hands-on opportunities at local organizations such as CoderDojo or other extracurricular programs that can be found at the MassTLC Education Foundation website (http://www.masstlcef.org).

Keep on coding!

To learn more about Microsoft’s commitment to youth and education, visit our YouthSpark Hub or follow us on twitter at @msftcitizenship.

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