Earlier this week, President Obama delivered his last State Of The Union address. Just two minutes into the hour-long speech, President Obama mentioned coding and students! My ears perked up as Couragion is on a mission to help kids gather critical STEM competencies such as coding. So of course, I was excited that the topic would be part of the address.

Later in the address, when he was speaking about the progress that has been made toward ensuring that ‘every American get the education and training they need to land a good-paying job’, Obama mentions that the nation should build on its current progress by ‘offering every student the hands-on computer science and math classes that make them job-ready on day one’.

In our interactions with schools and districts, we see many already tackling this challenge with electives and/or after-school programs that focus on learning to code. Some districts, such as the Los Angeles Unified School District, are even going as far as offering ALL students in kindergarten through 12th grade instruction in computer science. However, less than 10 percent of schools nationwide are offering computer science.

So if your students or offspring do not have access to in-school computer science training, we thought it would be helpful to provide you with online resources that you can use to help in working towards Obama’s coding goal…

  1. Code.org – we love the ‘hour of code’ sample exercises that use popular characters from Star Wars or Frozen to introduce even your youngest kids to the world of coding.
  2. Khan Academy – we like this site because of the variety of in-depth instruction it provides on computer programming topics from CSS to JavaScript to SQL.
  3. Unity 5 – This cool resource enables kids to learn coding by developing games. What kid doesn’t love games?
  4. Scratch – this resource is great because it combines online programming with a community whereby kids can program and share interactive stories, games, and animation with people from all over the world.
  5. Made With Code Projects – a Google resource that we like as it has coding projects that span several interest areas from music to fashion to art to dance. 

We deliver tips and resources like this in our app along with samples of careers that kids can have in the computer science field. We agree with Obama that every kid should get access to STEM training such as coding but we also feel that kids need to understand how such training will apply to their future and what types of career opportunities it opens for them. 

Photo Credit: https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/12/10/president-obama-first-president-write-line-code

Sources:

  • https://medium.com/@WhiteHouse/president-obama-s-2016-state-of-the-union-address-7c06300f9726#.o066p8tvi
  • http://home.lausd.net/apps/news/article/407400
  • https://code.org/learn
  • https://www.khanacademy.org/computing/computer-programming
  • https://unity3d.com
  • https://scratch.mit.edu
  • https://www.madewithcode.com/projects/

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