The organizers of the ‘Hour of Code’ initiative claim their program reached over 15 million students in its first seven days, helping introduce a new generation to the computer sciences.
Code.org managed to get a boatload of coverage promoting the program to help drive it to success and give computer science a rare moment in the spotlight.
Both President Obama and the leader of the republican-controlled House of Representatives Eric Cantor laid down arms to endorse the initiative, and major companies with equally fierce rivalries like Apple, Google, and Microsoft all gave the Hour of Code front page promotions on their websites.
The result has been staggering. Over 16.8 million students worldwide have used the tutorials provided by Code.org and their affiliates, not including those who used the program in a group, through an app, or while unplugged.
50 million lines of code were written in the first week on Code.org’s own tutorial programs alone, and the group estimates that one in five students in the U.S. started the program.
The organizers claim that more students took part in the initiative’s first week than joined Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr combined.
While some point out that the figures provided could be inflated, Code.org provided detailed information explaining just how they back up their claims with data.
On of the most exciting claims is that more girls learned to code in one week than in the past 70 years in U.S. schools, though this is based on some fairly speculative estimation.
Of course this doesn’t mean that the poor health of computer science education will be mended overnight, but it does mean that kids have been introduced to the concepts and might be inspired to learn more.
Though many school districts simply don’t have the resources to teach computer science, which needs both computers and qualified instructors, with the amount of support drummed up by the inaugural ‘Hour of Code’, priorities will hopefully begin to shift in favor of change.