MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) – Ahhh, how we love our computers. Whether its a PC, Mac, laptop, tablet or smartphone, they’ve become integrated into our day to day lives.
But have you ever stopped to think about who creates and writes the code which creates the computer software, apps and web sites that we use on a daily basis?
This week students in Miami-Dade and Broward will learn more about the process as part of Hour of Code, a national campaign organized by Code.org. The non-profit organization is dedicated to expanding computer science programs in schools. The goal is to inspire 100 million students across the globe to try one hour of computer science during National Computer Science Education Week.
“It’s about exposing our students to the new economic reality that relies so much on students ability to navigate computer science and code and to be able to embed that learning into every day life,” said Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho.
Last year, Broward public schools led the world with student participation in the Hour of Code. This year they say 100-percent of their schools will take part in the week long event.
On Thursday Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie and a representative of Code.org representative will visit Fort Lauderdale High School where they will meet with students who, as part of their computer science course, are developing literary arts video games to serve students in elementary and middle schools.
Some students say they are already thinking about careers where they would need to use coding.
“It’s definitely going to be a part of my career of choice which which is biomedical engineering and so in hey he design of prosthetics you need to put robotics and medicine together, so to be able to code your prosthetics to do different things I’m definitely going to need to use computer science for that,” said 12th grader Barbara Marquez.
“One of the things I want to do is machine intelligence which is creating computers that can think,” said Christopher Marrero, a 10th grader.
Miami-Dade and Broward’s school districts have joined districts in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and dozens of other smaller school districts nationwide in pledging to make computer science classes a standard in middle or high school.
The College Board, which runs the Advanced Placement program, is also introducing a new course called AP Computer Science Principles that will launch in the fall of 2016. The new course will be multidisciplinary and focus on real-world applications. AP offers college-level courses to high school students, who can get college credit for the courses. A key aim of the new course is to encourage women and minorities to start training for careers in computers.
“While no one is born a computer scientist, becoming a computer scientist isn’t as scary as it sounds,” President Barack Obama said in a video message to be released Monday by the White House. “With hard work and a little math and science, anyone can do it.”
President Obama’s efforts to make the U.S. more competitive with other countries in computing, science and math education have been limited by Congress which has ignored most of his proposals on education. Seeking to sidestep lawmakers, Obama has sought to use his convening power to get communities and companies to pitch in, with generally modest results.
To meet the teaching demand, charitable groups are pledging $20 million to train more teachers in computer science by the start of the 2015 school year. Google, Microsoft and philanthropists Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are among those contributing.
(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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