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ACM Urges Students to Participate in "Hour of Code" to Reach 10 Million Goal During CSEdWeek

Code.org Views Computer Science as Foundation for Virtually Any Career

acm
The Association for Computing Machinery
Advancing Computing as a Science & Profession

Contact: Virginia Gold
212-626-0505
vgold@acm.org

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NEW YORK, NY – December 5, 2013 – Only days away from Computer Science Education Week's "Hour of Code" challenge December 9-15, ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) joins leaders of the computing community to urge schools, teachers, and parents to experience computer programming through the Code.org campaign known as Hour of Code.  More than 3 million students have already registered to participate in this nationwide campaign through more than 21,000 events in over 160 countries.  The initiative is on track to introduce more than 10 million students of all ages to the basics of coding, a foundational skill for careers in the 21st century.   The Hour of Code is a self-guided activity that every participant—even beginners and "unplugged" people—can use to try out the essentials of computer science.  It includes a variety of tutorials featuring technology leaders like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg.

"Anyone can code," said John White, ACM CEO and Executive Director.  "Too many people think programming is hard or requires math, so we want to demystify computing for people to deepen their understanding of computer science and the potential for rewarding careers in the digital age."

White noted that with the U.S. facing a 3-to-1 gap between computing jobs and graduating students, ACM has been pursuing an initiative to make computer science acceptable as a core science along with mathematics, physics, biology, and chemistry. "It will enable some students to be better prepared for the projected 1.5 million job openings in computing-related fields over the next ten years," White added.

The online tutorials offered by Code.org are authored by various educational groups and gaming companies.  These hour-long tutorials can be completed online, on a smartphone, or even unplugged.   For educators, classrooms across the country will have opportunities to win prizes for participating, including a group conference call for 100 classrooms with a technology titan to kick off their Hour of Code.

A founding partner of Computer Science Education Week and a core partner of Code.org in bringing real computer science to U.S. high schools, ACM is inviting its student and professional members to engage with their families, schools, professional and recreational groups to participate in the Hour of Code.  For example, ACM is offering incentives to ACM Student Chapters to encourage them to mobilize their members with messages that emphasize the ability of simple computer science activities to nurture creativity and problem-solving skills.

The first week in December was chosen for National Computer Science Education Week in honor of the birthday of Grace Murray Hopper (December 9, 1906), one of the outstanding pioneers in the field of computer science.  She engineered new programming languages and pioneered standards for computer systems which laid the foundation for many advances in computer science from the late 1940’s through the 1970’s.  In 1971, ACM established the annual Grace Murray Hopper Award for Outstanding Young Computer Professional to recognize contributions made by computer professionals who were 35 years of age or less, selected on the basis of a single recent major technical or service contribution.

About ACM

ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery www.acm.org, is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting computing educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field’s challenges. ACM strengthens the computing profession’s collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for life-long learning, career development, and professional networking.  

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