Today is the first day of the Hour of Code!

The Hour of Code is a five day global movement that encourages kids, students, adults, and really everyone to try out and practice code.

One thing that is incredible about this movement is how many people can see the need and importance of this! Obama wrote his first line of code today! (watch Obama's first coding expierence at HuffingtonPost). Ashton Kutcher is also a huge supporter of startups, tech and is an investor in a number of companies. Ashton explains to students of video chat the importance of learning computer programming:

In the future, we're going to live in a world, or a society where there are two kinds of jobs available. The first job is a job where you tell computers what to do, and the other job is one where you get told what to do by computers.

I definitely recommend that everyone watch his Hour of Code interatcions with students.

I love this idea because less than three months ago I had no understanding of computers and was completely intimidated by programming. Seeing a wall of code was overwhelming and terrifying. I was sure I would break something if I touched it, and often that was the case (...sorry Milan!!).

Over the last couple months, I have moved away from the fear and awe I held towards computers and have begun to learn about how they work. This is something I am proud of and want to share with others. You don't have to be scared of your computer! IT can be fun!

And that is what the Hour of Code does. It breaks down the barrier of time and fear allowing anyone regardless of age, race or gender, to have a chance to try out a small project and get instant results.

Kim Desveaux, the founder of Atekelab, a local startup that introduces kids to programming, robotics and technology, has taken it upon herself to make coding more accessible to students. With the help of Brilliant Labs, a platform that accelerates and integrates hands-on learning opportunities in schools and local communities, Kim will go to 4 classrooms this week and guide more than 140 students through their first Hour of Code!

Today was the first day of it and I was lucky enough to join Kim at Tompkins Elementary in Glace Bay, Cape Breton. We taught the students how to use Scratch, a user friendly programming language that breaks down what would be intimidating functions into easier to understand building blocks. It is similar to Lego in that it lets you see what you've done and build on top of it.

The kids were incredible! Enthusiastic, creative and engaged. It was really fun to see the excitement and pride they felt from coding something themselves. They learned how to build animated cards that had sound, movement and interaction.

This was just one of the 10 cards that were made, but I liked this one (and sadly I don't have video on my blog... yet) but it is well timed so that the animals are having a conversation with each other. A link to all of the holiday cards from Cape Breton schools will be posted here soon!

I believe (and hope) that these types of experiences, where children are rewarded, and learning is encouraged will help create more interest in computer programming from a younger age.

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