President Obama Asks Young Americans To Become Computer Scientists
Written by Sue Gee   
Monday, 09 December 2013

President Obama is one of the famous faces in the newly released Hour of Code  kick-off video that aims to encourage 10 millions student in the United States to "learn what most schools" don't teach.

You can't get away from the fact that this is a promo video, given the the number of times the words "hour of code" are repeated, but it is worth watching just to appreciate the level of support being given to Code.org's initiative to popularize the idea that every child in school should be given the opportunity to learn to program.

 

 

The video lasts on a couple of minutes but you'll notice fleeting appearances from high profile personalities. It's not just Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg telling kids to code but also popstars and NBA players. The face that made me do a double-take was that of a young Steve Jobs - and in this case the footage is an excerpt from an interview in 1995 in which jobs emphasizes the importance of leaning computer science because it teaches you how to think.

 

 

If you are worried that President Obama's exhortation to "Give it a shot" is patched in from some other footage, you are correct. Here is the entire 80-second video made for this week's Hour of Code campaign, in which he tells us

"Don't just play it on your phone. program it.:

 

 

To make sure including the President might alienate part of the potential audience there's also a shorter video from Republican House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor who tells us that when Code.org's founder Hadi Partovi showed him how easy it was to write a line of code he was "blown away". He is now convinced that becoming literate in code is as essential as being literate in English and Math, concluding:

"It is the only way for you to prepare for the future."

 

This week it's OK to boasting about you ability to write lines of code. Make the most of it - and encourage any students you know to try an hour of code. Hopefully they will appreciate you more once they understand just how transforming it can be.

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