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President Obama Calls for Computer Science, So Does Museum of Science, Boston

January 14, 2016

On January 12, 2016, in his State of the Union address President Obama called for "hands-on computer science and math classes" for every student. On December 12-13, 2015, more than 7,500 visitors discovered how important and fun computer science could be at the Museum of Science, Boston. (See photo.) .

Computer Science Education Week launched its first "Hour of Code" in December 2013 to show that anyone can create computer code, including the President who participated. As of January 15, 201,384,142 people (48% female) have written 11,151,730,618 lines of code. Each year, Computer Science Education Week celebrates the birthday of computer pioneer Admiral Grace Hopper.

Says Museum educator Lydia Beall, "We want to spark future software engineers." There are more than 600,000 open computing jobs nationwide. But computer science is taught in less than 25% of American schools. Says Beall, "Computer science is critical."

At the two-day event, Museum Premier Partner Microsoft introduced programming basics using code games. Visitors could also program a robot to sense the world using blocks; design, build, and test circuits made from dough; and create an artificial intelligence to play tic-tac-toe. As visitors participated, they collected stamps on "passports." Local inventors, computer scientists, and roboticists also shared projects. Other community partners included MassTLC, Aldebaran Robotics, MassCAN CS Sparks, Wyss Institute at Harvard University, Juventas New Music Ensemble, JumpSmart, and Resilient Coders.

Of special note since June 2015, 321,800 Museum visitors explored the science, technology, engineering and math used by Pixar to create their award-winning films. Developed in collaboration with Pixar Animation Studios, The Science Behind Pixar exhibition this month begins a national tour transforming the complexities of computer science into compelling experiences. The Museum's Tech Studio offers hands-on experiences in computing and engineering year-round.

The Museum supports and Computing in the Core, as we all seek to elevate the profile of K-12 computer science education and make computer science a core academic subject.

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The Museum of Science, Boston

  1 Science Park, Boston, MA 02114  phone: 617-723-2500