San Francisco turns an hour of code into a week

Can an hour change your life’s direction? An Hour of Code might. And if you are a student in San Francisco your chances to find coding careers or an awesome hobby that can be boosted by computer science might be even better.

The San Francisco Unified School District has been part of an Hour of Code since it started four years ago. Since the SF Bay Area is home to so many technologies we know and love (think Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and oh so many more) teachers and school administrators took an hour of code to another level. They launched Computer Science Week with a goal of Computer Science for All. Check out #CSinSF on Twitter and you’ll see what I mean.

Like other Hour of Code schools around the globe, students use time in the school week to discover how CS can be something more than coding careers or jobs in engineering.

“Our goal is not to create an army of programmers or tech employees. We want to help students know more about computer science so if they choose it as a path to explore they feel confident” says Bryan Twarek, Computer Science Program Administrator for SFUSD. Bryan is part of a team that creates curriculum and activities to help kids discover how CS is already part of the things they love. Think of it this way, computer science is in almost everything we do, sports, music, art, design, there’s a layer touched by technology in everything.

So what did San Francisco Hour of Code participants get to do? Kids got to choose! Some 5th graders made Flappy Bird games using Scratch. Others kids created BBC micro:bit and Python programming language to design, craft, and program their own digital pets.

But even in this tech heavy city, during Computer Science Week, not every activity included coding.  Students entered a contest where they were asked to create an artefact to show computer science is for everyone. While some used digital tools and programs, created animations, slide decks, others used analog artefacts like posters and crafting materials.

The ultimate lesson: Computer Science is about solving problems using whatever tools you have available. If you can do that and have fun the possibilities are limitless!

-Sukhjit Ghag

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