Wednesday, December 17, 2014

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Viral Video Aims To Inspire The Next Generation Of Coders

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A viral video at Code.org may serve as an inspirational step towards helping our nation work its way out of its down economic times and towards employment in the high-tech sector. NY1's Technology reporter Adam Balkin filed the following report.

Over the next 10 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be 1.4 million jobs in computer science in the United States but only 400,000 graduates will be qualified for those jobs. Statistics like those that have mobilized an online movement called Code.org, a movement that spawned a viral video featuring a who's-who of the tech world and beyond, encouraging kids to start learning computer coding ASAP.

"One of my goals was to break down a lot of the stereotypes about computer coding, namely that you have to be a genius to do it, that coders code along for infinite hours while the pizza boxes pile up, that you don't code in teams, not many girls code and all those things," says Lesley Chilcott, the director of the film at Code.org. "All day long we interact with all this technology, social media. It's everywhere and yet not enough of us know how it really works."

The viral video, which is available on YouTube and Code.org, has versions that are one minute, five minutes and nine minutes in length. Adults, children, parents, teachers or students who are inspired to learn coding can then go to Code.org for loads of resources, including links to free mobile apps that seem like fun games but which teach coding fundamentals.

"We'll give you a whole bunch of options. How to learn online using free websites, free apps, as well as a directory of all the local schools," says Hadi Partovi, the founder of Code.org. "You enter your address and then whether it's public schools, private schools, workshops, summer camps, where you can go and take classes."

To find out about other programs in the area that encourage children to take up science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), visit www.ConnectAMillionMinds.com, run by NY1's parent company, Time Warner Cable.

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