Learn (and teach!) Code

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Computer Science Education week is coming up and libraries across the country, including mine, are participating in Hour of Code. If you haven’t hear of it, Hour of Code is a world-wide learning event where people can learn basic computer code. Last year, over 15 million people participated and I was one of them. During my session, our coach took us through a 20-step tutorial that included videos and exercises using Scratch, which is a drag-and-drop coding platform. By the end of the hour, I had learned about repeat-loops, conditionals, and basic algorithms – all important aspects to writing code. After the one-hour session, I felt confident that I could present the same material to another group of learners.

Why is this important to libraries? Coding is a literacy skill for the 21st century. Having a foundation in writing computer code helps today’s learners understand the digital environment and empowers them to participate in it. In a way, we’ve been teaching different types of codes to our customers for years – we teach the alphabet during storytime, the Dewey Decimal system to anyone who wants to find a non-fiction book, even our use policies are a type of code (i.e. if behave inappropriately, then you will be asked to leave the library). Spelling conventions, organizational rules, and library policies are all examples of types of code – they are a way of doing something that is based in logic.

You don’t have to be a computer scientists to learn code, and if you can give it an hour, you will learn a lot. Computer Science Education Week is December 8 – 14 – my library will be coding, will yours?