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Cracking the Code

As a mom of two elementary-school-age kids, I'm all in where STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curriculum is concerned. The future is most definitely now when it comes to technology, and it stands to reason that the more comfortable kids are with these subject areas, the better positioned they'll be to pursue higher education in computing and related fields, which is where the jobs are.

But even though, according to recent data, 9 in 10 parents want their child to study computer science, only 1 in 4 schools teach computer programming. Yes, depressingly, the majority of schools do not teach computer science.

Enter Code.org, a nonprofit launched in 2013 dedicated to advocating for, and expanding access to, computer science education. (An equally noteworthy Code.org goal is increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color in the tech fields.) In short, this visionary collective wants every student in every school to have the opportunity to learn computer science.

One of their key initiatives is a program called Hour of Code, a fun introduction to coding designed to demystify code and prove that anyone can learn the basics. Check out the Minecraft, Star Wars and Frozen-themed Hours of Code accessible at Code.org—they're terrific. Also, as part of Computer Science Education Week (December 7–13), Apple is hosting Hour of Code workshops in all Apple stores worldwide on Thursday, December 10. In fact, Apple has participated in Hour of Code every year since since it started in 2013, and this year will hold over 1,400 workshops for thousands of kids. For more info, go to http://www.apple.com/retail/code/.