It's Computer Science Education Week, and Apple is offering thousands of free coding sessions at all Apple Stores. There are all sorts of workshops happening - at my local store, aspiring coders can learn the basics of the Swift programming language, design a maze and navigate Star Wars droids through obstacles, and bring robots to life using the Swift Playgrounds iPad app.
The event is part of Hour of Code, an initiative to introduce millions of students to one hour of computer science and computer programming. Beyond the workshops, kids from kindergarten and up can check out these one-hour, self-guided coding tutorials. There's one that lets you create your own Google logo using Scratch, a block-based programming language, to make the letters dance, sing or run. (Also, be sure to check out today's Google Doodle, a mini-game to celebrate 50 years of kids coding languages.)
Why should kids learn how to code, anyway? According to Code.org, computing jobs are the number one source of new wages in the United States - these are jobs in every industry, and they're projected to grow at twice the rate of all other jobs. And yet, only US 11 states have created K-12 computer science standards. Last year, only 42,969 computer science students graduated into the workforce in the US. Such jobs can only be expected to grow in Australia as well. Computer science can help nurture problem-solving skills, logic and creativity.
Also, you know, playing with droids is just fun.