In 2014, The Seattle Times published an article stating that the average African American in Seattle earns less than $26,000 per year. Meanwhile, the average computer science job in Seattle pays more than $89,000 per year, according to Payscale.com. Despite the earning potential of high-tech jobs, in 2012 only eight African American students in the State of Washington took the Advanced Placement (“AP”) Computer Science exam, according to the College Board, the entity that administers the exam. In 2013, the number increased to a total of 12 students state-wide. Statistics like these spurred Hadi and Ali Partovi to create Code.org, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding student participation in computer science by making it available in more schools, and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color.
By December 2014, 49,149,482 students have participated in Code.org’s “Hour of Code.” Of this group, 22,649,120 students used the tutorials created by Code.org, and within the Code.org tutorial, those students wrote 2,150,971,460 lines of code.
FLAGSHIP "HOUR OF CODE" CAMPAIGN
In late 2013, the “Hour of Code” campaign saturated social networks and spawned support from the likes of Sarah Michelle Gellar, Shakira, Chris Bosh, Ashton Kutcher, Mark Zuckerberg, Will.i.am, and Bill Gates, among others.
The mission was simple – recruit schools, teachers and parents across the country to introduce students to computer science for one hour. One hour sounds like no time at all to teach a student to code, but one hour can make a lasting impact and encourage more students to consider an education in the high demand field of computer science and technology.
The “Hour of Code” campaign was part of Computer Science Education Week held December 9 through 15, 2013, and sought to engage 10 million students across the globe in computer science through a one-hour programming tutorial in which participants wrote lines of code.
By the end of 2013 Computer Science Education Week, more than 15 million people had logged an hour of code. Foster Pepper was instrumental in negotiating celebrity endorsements, character rights to Angry Birds and Plants vs. Zombies, as well as music from artists like Macklemore & Ryan Lewis for Code.org’s tutorials, school curricula and the promotional videos.
ENCOURAGING CODING EDUCATION FOR GIRLS
In November 2014, Code.org announced it is teaming up with Disney Interactive to bring popular animated characters Anna and Elsa from the Disney hit “Frozen” to the fold in its 2014 “Hour of Code” campaign. In “Artist with Anna & Elsa,” students will learn basic code to draw snowflakes and snowmen and perform “ice craft.” Foster Pepper negotiated and drafted those agreements.
Introducing Anna and Elsa to the Code.org family is a strategic move on part of the organization to engage more girls in coding at a younger age, which will eventually lead to greater diversity in the ranks of engineers and top managers.
Disney Interactive is also donating $100,000 to Code.org to bring computer science education to after-school programs, as well as hosting “Hour of Code” events at its offices in Seattle, Los Angeles, Palo Alto and Kelowna, British Columbia.
The addition of Anna and Elsa is just the beginning of encouraging wider participating in coding technology education. Code.org and other tech giants, including Google, are collaborating to expand the pipeline of successful engineers that are not just women, but from diverse cultural backgrounds as well.
The 2014 Hour of Code will also include tutorials and video lectures narrated by Polyvore Chief Executive Jess Lee, Microsoft engineer Paola Mejia and models Karlie Kloss and Lyndsey Scott.
THE ECONOMIC IMPACT
According to the U.S. Census, the average annual salary in King County in 2010 was $39,313. According to Payscale.com, the average salary in King County for individuals working in computer science is over $89,000 – more than double the average annual wage.
Code.org’s “Hour of Code” campaign draws awareness to the fact that the fundamental education necessary to obtain one of those high-paying computer science jobs is not available to everyone. Approximately 45 of Washington’s more than 600 high schools offer AP computer science courses, and many of those are at private schools. Of those students taking AP computer science in Washington, only 10 are African American, and 13 are Latino.
Code.org’s is a nonprofit organization and its mission is simple – expand participating in computer science by making it available in more schools, and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color.
In 2013, Code.org reached 20 million students with “Hour of Code.” Half of those students were girls. It also worked with 13,000 teachers to begin teaching its online course to approximately 750,000 students and helped change policy in five states to recognize computer science as counting toward high school graduation requirements.
Foster Pepper is proud to take part in increased computer science education in the United States and around the world.
Learn more and get involved at code.org.
To coincide with the Third Annual Hour of Code on December 7 – 13, 2015, Code.org partnered with Disney, Lucasfilm and Microsoft to create new “Star Wars” and “Minecraft” themed tutorials to teach children basic coding skills. The “Star Wars” tutorial came a month before the release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” while a “Minecraft” themed tutorial, based on the popular world-building game, was the most requested by Code.org students.
Foster Pepper attorney Steve Fisher negotiated the licensing deals for Code.org with Disney, Lucasfilm and Microsoft for the new tutorials.
Learn more about our recent work on behalf of Code.org here.