This week, the Hour of Code initiative helped to demystify coding and enable parents, teachers and students across the UK to get a fun introduction to coding. Over 2,000 schools in the UK signed up to do an Hour of Code this week and last month both a Minecraft and Star Wars tutorial were launched to encourage more children and adults to take part.
Over 100 million people around the world have already participated in an Hour of Code, including David Cameron and President Obama. Last year’s Hour of Code campaign led to over 6 million people participating in the UK and this year the aim is to get 10 million involved.
Research from Code.org UK shows parents’ lack of understanding of coding, which could potentially be damaging their kids’ skills development and career opportunities in the future, which could have a huge knock on effect on the UK economy.
The research shows that over four fifths (85%) of parents don’t know how to code, while over two fifths (42%) don’t even know what coding is. With recent research showing that investing in digital skills could produce £14bn for the UK economy over the next ten years, there is clearly a lot to do.
During the week, a class from Eastlea Community School joined Prime Minister David Cameron and Education Secretary Nicky Morgan at Downing Street as they completed an hour-long coding tutorial.
Both Prime Minister David Cameron and Education Secretary Nicky Morgan joined the students in completing their first lines of code by participating in a Minecraft tutorial, which introduces players to basic coding within the fun and popular ‘Minecraft’ environment. The students also gave the ministers demonstrations of some of their projects developed using a BBC micro:bit, a pocket-sized codeable computer with motion detection, a built-in compass and Bluetooth technology, including a robot. These devices will be given free to all year seven students early next year by the BBC and partners, to inspire young people to try out coding and get creative with digital and develop core skills in science, technology and engineering.
Nicky Morgan with pupils
Prime Minister, David Cameron, said: “It’s crucial that we give our young people the skills they need to get on so they can compete for the best jobs of the future. In this digital age, coding matters, which is why initiatives such as the Hour of Code are so important and why we’ve embedded it in our national curriculum alongside other STEM subjects.
“We are also delivering on our commitment to increase the number of girls taking STEM subjects at school. More girls than ever before are choosing maths A-level – over the last Parliament thousands more chose courses that will develop these vital tech skills.”
Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, said: “The Hour of Code initiative shows that coding is for everyone and by learning these digital skills, all pupils can have the opportunity to fulfil their potential to get on in life. The world is changing and it is essential that we have a generation of young people with the knowledge and skills to become active creators of digital technology, not just consumers of it. Today I’ve written my first line of code and now I’m challenging all parents to do the same.”
Avid Larizadeh, Head of Hour of Code UK, added: “Coding is now a key part of the UK curriculum but this is only half the challenge. We know how influential and important parents are to our kids’ education and their career choices and we need them to be fully on board with coding too. Whether they become a vet or an engineer or fashion designer, coding and the digital world will be central to our kids’ future and it’s important that we encourage and help them to build up these skills in a fun and engaging way.”