SUNY Fredonia to host regional Hour of Code initiative

The State University of New York at Fredonia’s Department of Computer and Information Sciences is joining the largest coding learning event in history: The Hour of Code.

The national event, occurring throughout the week of Dec. 8-14, will take place on the Fredonia campus on Tuesday, Dec. 9, at 7 p.m. in Fenton Hall Room 115.

First held in 2013, the Hour of Code is a major initiative of Code.org, a non-profit entity dedicated to expanding participation in computer science by making it available in more schools, and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color. The organization’s vision is that every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn computer science. Its organizers believe computer science and computer programming should be part of the core curriculum in education, alongside other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses.

In one week last year, 15 million students tried computer science. The field was featured on the homepages of Google, MSN, Yahoo! and Disney. President Obama, pop music icon Shakira and actor Ashton Kutcher all kicked off the 2013 Hour of Code with videos. Over 100 partners came together to support the movement.

“Computers are everywhere, but fewer schools teach computer science than 10 years ago,” said Fredonia faculty member Gregory Cole. “Women and minorities are severely underrepresented as well. The good news is, events like this can play a big role in changing that.”

“The Hour of Code is designed to demystify code and show that computer science is not rocket-science – anybody can learn the basics,” said Hadi Partovi, founder and CEO of Code.org. “Now, we’re aiming for 100 million [participants] worldwide to prove that the demand for relevant, 21st-century computer science education crosses all borders and knows no boundaries.”

In addition to its own students, Fredonia’s Computer and Information Sciences faculty invite interested area K-12 schools and civic groups to contact the department, visit the campus, and join in this year’s Hour of Code event.

“We are eager to demonstrate how exciting it is to work with computers,” added Fredonia’s Computer and Information Sciences Department Chair Reneta Barneva. “We are planning to show the participants how to work with ‘Alice,’ an innovative programming environment in which 3-D computer-animated characters can be created using ‘drag-and-drop’ techniques.”

The Alice demonstration will be led by Fredonia Professor Adrienne Pelz. The department also offers a number of innovative courses covering such topics as mobile app development, security and ethics, game development, web programming, 3D modeling, data mining, cloud computing, e-commerce, and ethical hacking.

“We will show our participants some of the projects our students have developed in these areas,” Dr. Barneva added.

For more information, please contact Gregory Cole of the Computer and Information Sciences Department at Gregory.Cole@fredonia.edu or 673-3646.