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President Obama Asks You and Your Kids to Try an 'Hour of Code'

President Obama Asks You and Your Kids to Try an 'Hour of Code'

December 8-14 is Computer Science Education Week and even the President is encouraging people – young people especially — to try their hand at coding. This week President Obama became the first president in US history to program a computer when he joined a group of middle school students to learn Javascript as part of the annual Hour of Code campaign. The campaign hosted by non-profit is aimed at getting students of all ages interested in computer science by encouraging them to spend just an hour trying out any programming language or computer science course either through their school or online. “Take an hour to learn more about the technology that touches every part of our lives,” Obama said in a statement.

Other companies and organizations are getting on the bandwagon as well. Apple will be offering in-store, hour-long Intro to Computer Science courses at many of its stores throughout the week.

It's never too late to pick up a new skill, or add a new programming language to your belt. Here are few free resources to help you and your kids get started with coding: — The organizer of the Hour of Code campaign offers a variety of interactive tutorials on its website that teach some basic principles of computer science as well as tutorials on Javascript, Python, Ruby, and PHP. The site will also be streaming lectures and talks.

Code Academy — Code Academy offers interactive, web-based tutorials focused primarily on coding for the web. Beginner courses take around 8-10 hours to complete and cover HTML, CSS, Javascript, jQuery, Python, Ruby, and PHP.

Coursera — Another hub for multidisciplinary online courses, Coursera offers courses in multiple languages that cover the gamut of computer science including artificial intelligence and cybersecurity. Courses enroll throughout the year.

Khan Academy — Among its various course offerings, Khan Academy has a handful of computer science courses (“Journey into Crytography”) as well as programming courses on HTML/CSS, as well as Javascript for animation and gaming.

MIT OpenCourseWare  — MIT (yes that MIT) offers free online materials from courses from across multiple disciplines at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Courses run the range from intros to Java, C, and C++ to Lego robotics and advanced computational theory.

Pluralsight  - Pluralsight is geared toward teaching adults and kids about technology and offers online courses in computer science and programming targeted at different age groups.

Scratch A project out of the MIT Media Lab, Scratch is an interactive, web-based tool aimed at teaching kids ages 8-16 the fundamentals of coding. Kids can create their own animations and games and share them with the online community.

Udacity — A venture born out of Stanford University, Udacity's catalog includes courses on Computer Science, software engineering, web development, and mobile app development built and curated by big names such as Facebook Google, Autodesk, Twitter, and Nvidia. Beginner programming courses include Java and Python with intermediate and advanced courses on machine learning and artificial intelligence. Not all courses are free to enroll but you can access the course materials for free.

Udemy — Udemy offers a variety of free and paid technology-centric online courses for career enrichment including HTML5, Java, Python, and mobile app development.

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