Campaign launched to promote value of computer science education

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Oct. 1, 2014) — A public awareness initiative to help promote the value of computer science education is being launched by Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation (KSTC) and Kentucky Department of Education (KDE).

computerComputer science coding skills continue to emerge as basic input for innovation.  It is fitting to announce Kentucky Coders at the IdeaFestival, which is a celebration of innovative ideas.

Kentucky Coders is a call to action with a bold goal for Kentucky’s participation in the “Hour of Code” global campaign sponsored by Code.org in conjunction with national Computer Science Education Week, this year from Dec. 8-14.

“Providing access to computer science for all K-12 students is a vision that we share with Kentucky’s leaders. I encourage all parents, teachers and schools to help your students participate in the “Hour of Code” movement this December. Even one hour of exposure to computer science can be enough to inspire students to keep learning and change the course of their lives,” says Cameron Wilson, COO & VP of Government Affairs, Code.org.

Coding stations are available daily throughout the 2014 IdeaFestival at The Kentucky Center. Volunteers are on site to help the public understand how accessible coding is so that anyone can “get coding” at these stations or festival goers may bring their own devices, or try it at home. The KentuckyCoders.com website is open for all festival goers and Kentucky Coders to get coding and make their efforts ‘count’ in this campaign to reach one million.

Following an informal conversation about computer science education among a variety of policy and business leaders in January, the level of interest in computer science education has continued to grow.  This is evident in the Kentucky Coders public awareness initiative and other developments.

Earlier this year Kentucky was recognized by Code.org for its progressive state policy for making computer science count toward high school graduation. Kentucky “makes coding count” by allowing the Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science A course to count as the fourth math credit needed for high school graduation.

Enrollments in this AP course, which teaches Java programming, and qualifying scores that earn these students college credit continue to rise each year across the state but the volume of need remains much higher.

According to Susan Weiss, president and CEO of Net Tango, “The conversation and public awareness campaigns surrounding computer science education are extraordinarily important. There are many more job openings for computer science expertise than students to fill them. These are high paying jobs and exciting careers. If we can expose, encourage and educate more students about these opportunities we can solve one of the larger economic problems facing our state.”

A new AP Computer Science Principles course will be featured at the AdvanceKentucky Fall Forum on Nov. 22 in Louisville. Dan Garcia from UC Berkeley and member of the College Board computer science development committee will share details about the new course, with the first AP exam administered in 2017. The UC Berkeley pilot course is called the Joy and Beauty of Computing. This event is open to anyone interested in learning more about this new opportunity to help make computer science education available to a broader audience of students. Click here for more information.

“AdvanceKentucky is pleased to support the effort for many more young people to be exposed to coding. We see in schools across the state how talented students are and they thrive on new opportunities,” said Joanne Lang, executive director of AdvanceKentucky, a partnership between KDE and KSTC founded as the state’s affiliate with the National Math and Science Initiative.

 

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