Hour of Code. Moment of Illumination.


Last week, upon waking one morning, I noticed an eMail from The Khan Academy entitled, “Hour of Code.” “Interesting!” I thought. Through a little bit of digging around the web, I came to find out that this was part of a national initiative to help celebrate Computer Science Education Week.

According to the most recent statistics found on csedweek.org, the number of participants were in the several MILLIONS! Not too shabby for something that has yet to hit Wikipedia. According to sfgate.com this program had the backing of both the U.S. President and the founder of FB. I wonder how come I hadn’t seen or heard about this before? After looking around some more, my questions were answered. This program was geared more toward younger students, so to those of us already out there, in “the world” who haven’t yet heard of this program, consider this your very brief intro.

For me, this comes at a much-needed time as I could certainly use all the help I can get while I continue developing my app and web-dev skills. Not only that, but it’s also helped nudge me back into the academics via the Khan Academy. While I would love to say more about the Khan Academy, I’ll save that for a more in-depth post later, as it really is deserving an analysis of its own. For now, I’ll simply state that the tutorials they put on in support of the “Hour of Code” initiative were quite exceptional. Through video instruction and elaboration I was able to get sufficient orientation and confidence to play and interact with the course material to the point where I felt accomplished. I was hooked!

While I don’t yet posses engineer-like skills I do have a better bigger-picture appreciation of computer science, and that’s partly to do with the “Hour of Code” exercises. I’m interested in seeing where other initiatives of this nature go. I’m becoming more and more aware of the vast resources of knowledge that are increasing in availability to the flexible and open-minded (read younger generations). It won’t be long before the true renaissance men and women begin to emerge and really start to wow us. And since I fully intend on including both myself and my own tribe into this mix, I’ll keep learning and keep sharing. Why not have a world full of artists/engineer hybrids? Imagine the awesomeness of someone possessing both inspiring artistic ability as well as exceptional engineering talent? Whoah…I’d like to be a part of that!

In closing, I’d like to stress that it really is never too late to learn something new, even if it’s something as seemingly-daunting as Computer Science. Through advances in technology, behavioral science, teaching methodologies and presentation, something as scary as math or programming can become quite approachable and dare I say, enjoyable!

Robert Charles Miller