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CNET News Video: 'Hour of Code' to teach kids as young as 5 to program

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CNET News Video: 'Hour of Code' to teach kids as young as 5 to program

3:11 /

Education has long revolved around reading, writing, and arithmetic. But Code.org wants to see coding added to the curriculum. CNET's Sumi Das looks at the efforts to introduce computer science into schools.

-An hour in the classroom, that's all the nonprofit code.org wants, at least to start. Hour of Code is an event that aims to teach kids about programming. It takes place December 9th to the 15th during computer science education week. -The idea is to get a one-hour basic introduction to this field that is sort of behind this veil of mystery. It's this veil that separates the average person from the Mark Zuckerbergs. We want to basically break down that veil and let people take one hour to basically see what it's like to write code. -Sound intimidating? Code.org says coding is easier than you think. -It started with ones and zeros and even for the last 30 years nobody really does that stuff, but now it's to the point where giving instructions to a computer are almost like speaking a simple language. To help educators introduce the topic to students, code.org has compiled a range of lessons. Mark Zuckerberg may not draw them in, but Angry Birds might. -6-year-olds play it not even knowing that it's learning. They're just playing it 'cause it's a game and, you know, each level that you progress to the game you're learning a little bit more about how computer science works. Westborough Middle School in South San Francisco is one of nearly 10,000 schools across the globe planning to participate. -It's really to understand how to go about doing certain tasks and understanding the benefits of technology. -Like many schools, Westborough offers a computer lab course for students, but that focuses on computer literacy. -The Hour of Code is about incorporating more computer science in the classrooms, not just learning how to use Microsoft office and use the internet, but actually being able to understand how to create these applications. -Hour of Code is backed by dozens of tech companies and luminaries like Twitter cofounder Jack Dorsey and Bill Gates. -I was 13 when I first got access to a computer. File sharing service, Dropbox, is donating storage for the event. CEO Drew Houston hopes students get as hooked on coding as he did. -I was lucky enough that my parents bought a PC Junior when I was like 3 and so there's this like glowing box in the living room and had all these buttons. My dad showed me how to use the computer and actually showed me how to write my first line of code. -20 years later, Houston has built a multimillion dollar business using code. -Get the right code and then press a button and then millions of people now have a problem that's solved. And I can't think of any other tool that has that kind of power. -It's unlikely that common core education standards will be revised to include coding. Still, 60 minutes could bring some change. Within an hour, you can build up something more complicated. You don't even realize and have that little aha moment of I actually got a computer to do something for me. -A moment that may spark interest in a career or simply strengthen logic skills. Either way, sounds like an hour well spent. In San Francisco, I'm Sumi Das, CNET for CBS News.

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