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ACM Joins Call for "Hour Of Code" to Underscore Critical Role of Computing in All Careers

Code.org Initiative Aimed at Inspiring 10 Million Students to Learn to Code

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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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NEW YORK, NY – October 15, 2013 – ACM (the Association for Computing Machinery) has joined leaders of the computing community to invite schools, teachers, and parents to experience computer programming through the Code.org campaign known as Hour of Code.  Scheduled to occur during Computer Science Education Week, December 9-15, this nationwide campaign hopes 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 student 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.

“The U.S. is facing a 3-1 gap between computing jobs and graduating students,” said John White, ACM CEO and Executive Director.  “With the Hour of Code initiative, we intend to demystify computing for people who think programming is hard or requires math, and to deepen their understanding of computer science and the potential for rewarding careers in the digital age.” 

White pointed to computing’s role in driving innovation and sustaining economic growth.   “The study of computer science provides a foundation that is increasingly critical to a growing number of fields from engineering and defense, to environment and health, to energy and communication.   As the Internet Age explodes and software appears in every appliance, building, and vehicle, we have a societal interest in promoting understanding of and interest in our discipline.”

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.   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.

ACM President Vint Cerf noted that fewer schools teach computer science than 10 years ago, even though software is an increasingly important part of our economy.  “ACM has been pursuing an initiative to make computer science acceptable as a core science along with mathematics, physics, biology, and chemistry,” he said.  “It is ACM's position that computer science should have equal standing because 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.  It will also help ALL students to understand and appreciate the role of computing in their daily lives.”

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 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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