An Hour of Code can change a life

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Photo of Malala Yousafzai with quote: Every girl deserves to take part in creating the technology that will our world, and change who runs it.

Computers are everywhere, changing every industry on the planet, but fewer than half of all schools teach computer science. Girls and minorities are severely underrepresented in computer science classes, and in the tech industry. The good news is there are ways to change this situation, and you can help. 

U-M groups such as the Women in IT Community of Practice, LSA IT, and ITS, along with AAPS Parents and Thomson Reuters, are coming together as a community to support Ann Arbor Public Schools in their mission to introduce students to computer science with Hour of Code, a global movement that believes the students of today are ready to learn critical skills for 21st century success.

What can you do to help?  

From November 27-December 8, every one of the 5,000 elementary students at the Ann Arbor Public Schools is joining the largest learning event in history, the Hour of Code. Michigan IT staff are encouraged to volunteer a few hours of their time to this effort, which takes place in conjunction with Computer Science Education week.

The Women in IT CoP Community Outreach group is hosting an info session and volunteer drive on Tuesday, November 7, 2017, 2-4 p.m. at the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library Gallery. The event will focus on advancing STEM skills for girls and will include an Hour of Code demo, information about partner organizations, and other opportunities to get involved.

The diversity problem starts in k-12. Women who try AP Computer Science in high school are then times more likely to major in it, and Black and Hispanic students are seven times more likely.

Get started

  1. First, be sure to consult with your supervisor before you commit. Discuss whether to use flex scheduling or take vacation time to volunteer.
  2. Once you have approval, complete the sign-up form. (Plan on one hour per class–note availability by half day–and allow two hours to prep.)
  3. Submit a completed volunteer certification.

You will be notified in November via email about your match with a school and teacher, the school location, and where to check-in. What will be expected of you? The teacher will pick a topic, you will need to review the exercise before class and prepare a brief statement about your work in IT.  Necessary materials will be in the classroom.

Over 100 partners have joined together to support Hour of Code. It has been featured on the homepages of Google, MSN, Yahoo! and Disney. Every Apple Store in the world has hosted an Hour of Code, and President Obama wrote his first line of code as part of the campaign. For information on the program, please visit code.org or email hourofcodeumaaps2017@umich.edu. To learn more about Women in IT Community Outreach email  WiTCoP-CommunityOutreach@umich.edu.