Monday, December 7, 2015

It's "Play Around with Computer Code" Week

It's Monday.... so why am I here? Because this week - December 7 through 13 - is Computer Science Education Week, and there are all kinds of fun things to do. 

It's also a great week to celebrate Grace Hopper and Ada Lovelace, two pioneers in computer science. 

Ada Lovelace was born in London on December 10, 1815. She had a talent for mathematics, and is often considered to be the first computer programmer. She also introduced the concept of repeating processes, or “looping,” using a computing engine. The programming language, Ada, is named after her.

Grace Hopper developed the first compiler for a programming language. She also popularized the term “debugging” - using used the phrase when she had to remove an actual moth from the computer.

What better way to celebrate than to learn how to write computer code? If you've never written any code before, don't worry. There are plenty of books and online resources to help you learn how.

One new book that I really like is Hello Ruby: Adventures in Coding. It's written and illustrated by Linda Liukas, a computer programmer herself. You can find a review of the book and interview with Linda over at Sally's Bookshelf - plus a link to Ruby's game page where you can play around with coding.

A really great resource is the Hour of Code site where you'll find some videos and puzzles to get you started. Use blocks of code to take two characters on a Minecraft adventure, build a Star Wars galaxy, ice skate with Anna and Elsa, and make flappy bird games and more. 

Go. Play. Have fun. In the process you'll learn a little bit about logic and spacial orientation and maybe even computer coding. Plus... I'm betting you'll spend way more than an hour.

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