Students participate in Usher's New Look Foundation's partnership with Microsoft, Code.org and Emory University to teach tech coding to Georgia teens.  (Photo Credit: Thomas Springer, Jr.)
Students participate in Usher’s New Look Foundation’s partnership with Microsoft, Code.org and Emory University to teach tech coding to Georgia teens.
(Photo Credit: Thomas Springer, Jr.)

Usher’s New Look Foundation (UNLF) recently partnered with Code.org and Microsoft to host an Hour of Code tutorial at Emory University Goizueta Business School. The program was designed as a Computer Science Education Week campaign to teach over 10 million kids nationwide how to create codes used throughout technology and software apps.

The demonstrations used video lectures featuring Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Chris Bosh, President Obama and will.i.am. Angry Birds was the visual aid. The kids assembled in small groups to drag and drop small units across the computer monitors. The kids also learned algorithms, repeat-loops and conditionals.

In Georgia, 133 schools teach computer science-related courses. There is a strong push to mold young students of color particularly into more tech- and career-savvy candidates. UNLF participants that attended Hour of Code were primarily high school freshmen and sophomores.

New Look and Microsoft have been in partnership on various community and career-based initiatives for over two years. UNLF Associate Executive Director Gavin McGuire believes workshops like Hour of Code will increase academic performance and enhance student engagement.

“This is a growing field. It’s good to give our students a head start and be on cutting edge. That’s the New Look way. This speaks to what we do. It’s not just reading it in a book or researching it. The experience is invaluable,” says McGuire.

At the time of UNLF’s workshop, Code.org updated via Twitter that over 15 million kids wrote over a half a billion lines of code. Code.org’s platform was to also encourage schools throughout America to implement computer science as part of core curriculum.

“It’s always good to provide hands-on exposure and access to opportunities that they might not be aware of. It’s important to spark their interests in areas that they may have innate talent,” says McGuire.

This post was written by Christopher A. Daniel, a pop cultural critic and music editor for The Burton Wire. He is also a contributing writer for Urban Lux Magazine and Blues & Soul Magazine. Follow Christopher @Journalistorian on Twitter.

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