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Northwestern U Partners with Illinois District on Hour of Code Activities

Northwestern University has partnered with Evanston/Skokie School District 65 on an initiative to introduce students to programming in conjunction with the Hour of Code.

"Billed as the 'largest learning event in history,' Hour of Code kicks off Computer Science Education Week, held December 8 through December 12," according to a news release. "The activities are designed to introduce youngsters to computer science, demystify coding and demonstrate that anyone can learn the basics."

As part of the initiative, students at District 65 will take part in activities such as app development, game development or introductory lessons in Javascript or other programming languages in their science, library or media arts classes.
Graduate student volunteers from Northwestern's chemistry, engineering and computer science departments, among others, will assist teachers and work with students.

"Virtually every field these days involves computing, so introducing students to coding at a young age is a great way to get them excited about pursuing this skill both in and out of school," said Kemi Jona, director of the Office of STEM Education Partnerships (OSEP) and professor of learning sciences and computer science at Northwestern, in a prepared statement.

Organized by, last year's hour of code included 15 million student participants. The goal for this year, the program's second, is to reach 100 million. The Northwestern partnership with District 65 is expected to include approximately 2,000 middle school students.

"The coding activities will engage students through creativity and problem solving and will infuse the science and engineering practices that are a critical part of the Next Generation Science Standards, the new Illinois learning standards for science," said District 65 STEM Director Jesch Reyes, in a prepared statement.

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at [email protected].

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