We speak a lot of languages at Shanghai American School, but this week we are most proud of the one that allows us to speak in code.
This week we are celebrating the largest educational event in history, the seventh annual international "Hour of Code." During the Computer Science Education Week, December 5-11, students from around the world are taught coding and tasked with using their skills for (at least) one hour.
The "Hour of Code" is a grassroots effort that started as a one-hour introduction to computer science during this special week and was designed to demystify "code", to show that anybody can learn the basics, and to broaden participation in the field of computer science. It has since become a worldwide effort to celebrate computer science, starting with the "Hour of Code" coding activities and expanding to all sorts of community efforts. Over 400 partners and 200,000 educators worldwide support this campaign. This year, almost four million students throughout the world, including students at Shanghai American School, will be a part of this event.
Shanghai American School is no stranger to coding. Earlier this semester Apple's very own CEO Tim Cook shared that SAS was one of the few selected schools worldwide that were piloting one of their newest coding apps, Swift Playground. To kick off the international Hour of Code event, our students were asked to showcase their coding skills with Apple's software at "one of the most beautiful (Apple) stores in the world" (Business Insider) in the Pudong district. We were the only school in Shanghai that was invited by Apple to showcase our knowledge of their coding software.
Computer science is quickly becoming an essential skill for students to have and that SAS is proud to offer. Activities such as programming, coding, and scripting are becoming languages we must all learn to 'speak' in order to understand the world around us. Learning to code teaches our students how to solve problems and work together across a multitude of academic disciplines. Code powers virtually everything around us. When you turn your car on, code lets your key talk to the engine. When you order food from Sherpas, code places your online order. And when you use your favorite apps, code lets you send a message, share a photo, or swap faces with your cat. Coding is woven into so much of 21st-century living, we often don't even realize it is there.
At Shanghai American School, our computer science education is specifically interwoven into many of our classes and after school activities. Whether it's our first grade classes learning to create a code that will make a robot move, an after school club that is using the Swift Playground software, our middle school science class learning to program and build a weather station for the school, or our high school engineering class creating software to enhance their creations, we know that studying computer science through real world applications will enhance our student's learning and prepare them to lead us into the technological future.