State touting computer science and "hour of code" programs
December 3 to 9 is Computer Science Education Week in Virginia, as proclaimed by Governor Ralph Northam, who, along with his wife, First Lady Pamela Northam, today kicked off a series of events designed to encourage students of all ages to get interested in computer science and expand opportunities for computer science education in all parts of the state of Virginia.
A national initiative, the week is dedicated to increasing awareness of the transformative role of computing and the need to strengthen computer science education at all levels, said a spokesperson for the governor.
“As one of the fastest growing industries in Virginia, computer science is at the core of virtually all sectors of our economy,” said Northam. “My administration is determined to make sure that Virginia students have exposure to computer science courses at every grade level, and I look forward to traveling the Commonwealth this week to highlight computer science and the role it plays in related disciplines, like education, technology and space exploration.”
The theme of this year’s special week is, “Mission Possible: Cybersecurity,” in recognition of Virginia’s importance to the information security industry and to safeguarding the country's national security.
“This week is not just an exciting time for students, but for teachers, as well,” saidVirginia Secretary of Education Atif Qarni. “Learning activities, like coding, are a great introduction into computer science for learners of all ages. Having fun and meaningful exposure to, and experiences with, computer science, is critical for all students as they consider their future careers.”
Virginia is the first state in the nation to adopt computer science and computational thinking, to include coding, as a core subject for all students, said Qarni.
As part of the week, Northam and administration officials are encouraging school districts, teachers and students to explore coding by taking part in what is called, “hour of code” programs.
Virginia has the third highest concentration of technology workers of any state in the country, and ranks first for total number of computer science jobs, said Qarni.