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Microsoft wants all students to graduate knowing how to code

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects there will be about 122,000 new job openings each year in computing occupations requiring at least a bachelor's degree through the end of this decade. U.S. colleges only produce about 51,000 bachelor's degrees in computer science each year. (File photo)

If most adults walked into a classroom today it would look familiar. Desks are still in rows. A teacher still spends much of his or her day lecturing in front of students who then do homework and take tests.

The subjects students study today, for the most part, are the same things we studied too with world history, literature and math classes.

But this is 2013, and Microsoft thinks its time to shake up what students are learning in this way – Microsoft wants every student to have the opportunity to learn how to write computer code.

“Learning computer science is a bit to the twenty-first century like learning math or reading or physics was to the twentieth century. It’s pretty foundational for just about anything that the next generation is going to do in its life,” said Microsoft’s Executive Vice President and General Counsel Brad Smith, in an appearance on The Morning News on KIRO Radio.

Microsoft is part of a newly-launched campaign urging schools, teachers and parents across the country to participate in the “Hour of Code” Initiative.

Held during Computer Science Education Week (Dec. 9 to Dec. 15), they say the initiative will help introduce more than 10 million students to computer programming as a career.

“This is designed so that parents can get involved, employees can get involved, and most importantly kids and students can get involved,” said Smith.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects there will be about 122,000 new job openings each year in computing occupations requiring at least a bachelor’s degree through the end of this decade. U.S. colleges only produce about 51,000 bachelor’s degrees in computer science each year.

“This is a great opportunity for all of us in Western Washington, and Washington state, to show how and why in fact we lead the world in this field. Let’s make sure our kids have the opportunity to lead the world in it as well,” said Smith.

To sweeten the interest in the “Hour of Code” campaign, classrooms will also have a chance to win a prizes for participating, including a full set of computers for the classroom and a video conference call with Bill Gates.

By LINDA THOMAS

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