Iowans line up for lines of code

Two fifth-grade students take on the “Hour of Code” during Computer Science Education Week at Cora B. Darling Elementary-Middle School in Postville, a 2014 Code Iowa awardee.

Whether it is one line, one hour or a year-long journey into coding, schools and organizations across Iowa are preparing for another year of Code Iowa.

The STEM Council, Google, Verizon and NewBoCo will team up for the third year of Code Iowa, focused on encouraging more Iowans to take on Code.org’s “Hour of Code,” an international challenge for students around the world to try computer science. The big event kicks off December 5, 2016, which is the start of Computer Science Education Week and the beginning of a year-round lift in Iowa for the “T” in STEM.

A lift that will hopefully meet a critical demand for more experts in the fields of information technology, according to Code.org, who reports that there are nearly 3,600 open computing jobs in Iowa right now but only 380 recent computer science (CS) graduates to fill them. Several initiatives are underway to see more coding in Iowa schools, including proposed state legislation and the recently-released K-12 CS Framework created by dozens of partnering groups and Code.org. Plus, the STEM Council is developing an Iowa-based matrix of CS options similar to Rhode Island’s matrix that showcases the best known CS offerings available to educators.

As part of those efforts, Code Iowa provides both schools and informal organizations around the state with the opportunity to receive one of six, $3,500 technology awards in December. Those that participate will become “Certified Code Iowa Partners” and be eligible for free CS trainings in early 2017 through Code.org, Kodable and Oracle Academy.

Last year, Code.org estimated that more than 590,000 Iowans took part in the “Hour of Code,” including nearly 500 schools and organizations. Since 2013, participation has doubled every year, so if history repeats itself, Iowa could reach at least one million participants this year—but we need your help!

Is your school or organization participating? Submit an application or register your event by November 18, 2016 at www.IowaSTEM.gov/CodeIowa.

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