Original article was published by Code.org on Artificial Intelligence on Medium
Hour of Code 2020: Learn today, build a brighter tomorrow
We introduced Computer Science for Good in 2019 to show students that computer science can be a powerful tool for positive change, but that it’s equally important to wield this tool responsibly.
The events of this year have further shown this to be true, illuminating both the great promises and perils of technology. We rely on technology to keep us connected, but we’ve also seen how biased algorithms can divide us on the basis of race or gender. We rely on our technology to keep us informed, but we’ve also seen how easy it is to spread misinformation. We rely on our technology to stay productive, but we’ve left behind those who don’t have access to the internet.
In a year full of unexpected events, one thing is certain: it is more important than ever for students to learn computer science and technologies like artificial intelligence to help build the society we envision.
I hope you’ll join us for the Hour of Code this year during Computer Science Education Week, from December 7–11, 2020, to continue the conversation with your students on #CSforGood.
Supporting distance learning
We know that classrooms may look vastly different than they did a year ago, and we have a unique surprise planned to help you take care of your students for this year’s Hour of Code. Stay tuned and make sure you sign-up to be the first to hear more details soon.
In the meantime, we’ve developed new resources to help simplify running an Hour of Code, while remaining both interactive and fun — whether classes are held in-person, virtually, or a hybrid of both!
We’ve refreshed many of our How-To Guides, including a new one for hosting in virtual settings. We’ve also updated our guides for volunteers, companies, and even parents to engage. As in years past, a number of Hour of Code Unplugged activities are also available to allow students with limited internet access to participate and feel included.
Help us bring opportunities to more students
This year, as many families and teachers have had to adjust to a distance learning model, they have been faced with inequitable access to technology, time constraints, and funding shifts in the wake of Covid-19. As a result, many students will not have the opportunity to learn computer science at a time when digital proficiency and creative technology has become increasingly vital.
That’s why we need your help.
You don’t have to be an engineer in order to volunteer virtually with a classroom and share how technology has impacted your life. You don’t have to be an educator in order to host an Hour of Code at home, with a classroom, or with your company. Best of all, you don’t have to be a computer scientist in order to spread the word about the Hour of Code and help inspire a child to write their very first line of code.
However you are able to help, please share your Hour of Code highlights and follow us on social media! We especially love seeing your classroom videos, photos, and student projects using #HourofCode and #CSforGood.
CS is more important than ever
At a time of global pandemic, computer science holds the key to drug discovery and personalized medicine. At a time when democracy is suffering from a storm of misinformation, computer science holds the key to identifying false news or moderating dialogue. At a time when racist and xenophobic actions are colliding with a global economic recession, teaching CS equitably can build bridges across populations.
In the 21st century, computer science is about curing diseases, cleaning oceans, aiming for gender and race equality, and addressing global poverty. Today’s youth will one day create technology to address the world’s problems, but only if given the chance to learn how. Together we can give them the opportunity. Join us in this movement, to give every student in every school the opportunity to learn computer science and build a brighter future.
-Hadi Partovi and the Code.org Team