Computer Science Education Week is December 4-10, 2017 .
As a reminder, Hour of Code is almost here, and this year marks the 5th anniversary of this global event. In 2013, Hour of Code was launched by an organization called Code.org during Computer Science Education Week by twin brothers Hadi and Ali Partovi. Since then, what began as an idea with a fledgling organization has grown from a bootstrapped staff of volunteers to a full organization supporting a worldwide movement.
My planned learning activity for this week is to research a blockchain technology and the software that powers it. I’ll share more about blockchain later in this post.
The one-hour introduction to computer science was originally designed to demystify “code”, show that anybody can learn the basics, and broaden participation in the field of computer science. It has since become a worldwide effort to celebrate computer science, starting with one-hour coding activities, but expanding to all sorts of community efforts.
Stated earlier, Computer Science Education Week is December 4-10, 2017, however, an Hour of Code can be hosted year-round. Computer Science Education Week is held annually in recognition of the birthday of computing pioneer Admiral Grace Murray Hopper (December 9, 1906).
The computing mindset that is responsible for organizing many of these events is driven by the Hour of Code and Computer Science Education Week Advisory and Review Committees as well as an unprecedented coalition of partners that have come together to support many planned events — including Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Boys and Girls Clubs of America and the College Board.
So-o-o, what is blockchain and why am I interested in researching and learning more about the technology behind it? Most people who have heard of blockchain associate it with the technology behind Bitcoin, but blockchain’s potential uses extend far beyond digital currencies. And that is why so many people, including myself, are interesting in it.
Why? Currently, most people use a trusted middleman such as a bank to make a transaction. Blockchain allows consumers and suppliers to connect directly, removing the need for a third party. Using cryptography to keep exchanges secure, blockchain provides a decentralized database, or “digital ledger”, of transactions that everyone on the network can see. This network is essentially a chain of computers that must all approve an exchange before it can be verified and recorded. [Source: World Economic Forum (WEF)]
According to WEF, the technology can work for almost every type of transaction involving value, including money, goods and property. Its potential uses are almost limitless: from collecting taxes to enabling migrants to send money back to family in countries where banking is difficult. Blockchain could also help to reduce fraud because every transaction would be recorded and distributed on a public ledger for anyone to see.
I plan to share more about this amazing technology and the software behind it in a future post. Therefore, stay tuned!
Remember, anyone can participate in Hour of Code. There are special programs and information available for teachers at www.csedweek.org. You can organize an Hour of Code event at your school or in your community — like in an extracurricular club, non-profit or at work. Or, just try it yourself when Dec. 4th arrives.