Just an Hour of Coding Makes All the Difference for These Kids' Futures

by Sarah Murry, HP Newsroom Managing Editor
Feb 13, 2017 7:55 AM ET

Today, qualified teachers of computer science and other STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects are in short supply. In fact, fewer schools teach computer science today than 10 years ago, according to data compiled by Code.org.

At HP, there’s a global effort to change this — one student at a time. HP has partnered with Code.org to sponsor Hour of Code, a learning event that aims to deliver computer science education to students worldwide, with a focus on girls and underrepresented groups.

“Reversing the under-representation of women and minorities in technology is a priority for HP,” said Lesley Slaton Brown, HP’s Chief Diversity Officer. “Giving students access to computer science education and getting them excited about potential careers in STEM fields is critical to fostering the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators.”

For many students, the path to STEM proficiency starts with exposure to computer science basics. That’s the main idea behind an Hour of Code session, which aims to demystify computer programming and build students’ confidence.

HP volunteers helped run classroom sessions built around an Hour of Code tutorial. There students can learn to use programming languages to manipulate a game, create a picture, complete an interactive music project, or learn to animate their name on screen.

More than 1,000 HP volunteers from offices around the globe participated in Hour of Code — one of the largest learning events in history — by lending their skills, time, and support to teachers and students in the neighborhood schools where they live and work.

“All of the children I supported learned something new about how to make simple code instructions in a really fun setting,” said Zoe McMahon, an HP volunteer and Director for HP Compliance Intake & Programs, Ethics and Compliance Office.

HP participated in Hour of Code events at 16 locations — from San Diego to Singapore to South Africa and around the globe. 

At the HP site in Boise, Idaho, 20 volunteers reached some 3,000 students over the course of 66 sessions at local schools. 

“The students loved it, they didn’t want to stop,” said HP volunteer Antonina Robles, Customer Experience Program Manager, Office Printing Solutions Quality.

Globally, HP’s efforts reached some 15,000 students last year. HP will expand the program this year. The hope is that these students will be intrigued by the technology and motivated by the idea that they have the potential to develop a future technology that we cannot yet even imagine.

“The best part about volunteering is seeing each child smile and feel satisfied as they successfully completed a part of their lesson,” said HP volunteer Anju Sharma, Social Media Capabilities Manager.

With the right support and the right cheering, these students may become the next successful tech entrepreneurs of the 21st century.