In October of 2013, Code.org introduced a campaign to encourage 10 million kids to learn how to code by spending one hour engaged in programming related activities during Computer Science Education week which runs from December 9-14, 2013. Backed by numerous celebrities, including such influential tech celebrities as Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, this campaign may be just what the United States needs to get itself in gear in preparing its youth in the computer literacy skills needed for the future. But is it enough? Will one hour of exposure to the most basic programming activities be sufficient to kick start a sustained effort to incorporate computer programming in education? We hope so. At the very least, this campaign may gain enough visibility to move the conversation beyond political speak and headline grabbing.
Compare this with the growing number of organized computer programming clubs started by Code Club initiated in the United Kingdom and CoderDojo initiated in Ireland. Code Clubs and CoderDojos have spread at a rapid rate across the globe. Both organizations show registered participating groups on maps displayed on their respective web pages. These clubs represent a sustained effort to teach youth computer programming — not a one time event, not just an hour, but regularly scheduled meetings. These sessions do not only teach computer literacy; they build a community in the areas in which they are established. Kids make friends and learn from one another while parent and professional volunteers from the community mentor and guide them. The fun they have in these clubs though is what keeps them coming back.
By the number of clubs represented on these maps, it would seem that Europe is outpacing the US in organized efforts to reach out to youth in preparing them with the technical skills needed in the 21st century and beyond. So with such technical power houses in the US — celebrities, big corporations, and technical regions like Silicon Valley — why doesn’t the US have more to show in this area? Why aren’t there more Code Clubs or CoderDojos here, or for that matter, why hasn’t the US started something of their own? It really doesn’t matter who started what. What IS important is that there is something available for our youth today, but what one wonders here is how come there isn’t more happening in the US? Why isn’t there more support from the community, corporations, education, and goverment?
Code Club Worldwide
1556 Code Clubs worldwide and counting…
Concentration in the United Kingdom where Code Club is based:
Over 220 CoderDojos in 27 countries and counting…
Concentration in Ireland where CoderDojo is based: