Over the weekend, 60 students from Usher’s New Look Foundation came together at Georgia Tech to learn about the exciting potential behind computer science and receive training to help them compete in the tech industry.
The informative tech sessions were a part of the national Hour of Code Campaign presented by Code.org that aims to inspire more than 15 million young people across the globe to get involved in computer science.
As a part of the campaign, Georgia Tech and Usher’s New Look Foundation teamed up with the School of Computing and the Higher Altitude Foundation to show young students that there is more to the computer science world than many young people realize.
Many young people don’t associate computer science with music or the entertainment industry but the Day of Code helped students understand that there is more to technology than creating websites or collecting data online.
The day’s activities focused specifically on how computer science is incorporated in music and video productions and helped them develop skills on two platforms called Scratch and EarSketch.
All of the students took part in a friendly coding competition, learned how to remix beats and even created their own music animations.
It’s a much-needed focus for programs that aim to get students interested in the technology.
In addition to helping students obtain training and develop the skills they need to compete in Silicon Valley, they also need to understand the wide range of possibilities in the field.
Usher’s involvement in the Day of Code and his position as a National Spokesperson this year for the Hour of Code Campaign is already a step in the right direction.
It helps combat the stereotype that the tech industry is only a place for geeky white males and that there will be nothing more for students to do than create algorithms or build apps.
In the Black community many young people are sold dreams of becoming successful music stars although the likelihood of those dreams coming true are slim to none.
Introducing technology as a way to still be involved in the entertainment industry, however, can be a truly successful way to spark an interest in the field.
In addition to giving students the skills they need to compete in Silicon Valley, the Hour of Code Campaign aims to push the importance of computer science classes in schools across the nation.
Roughly 90 percent of schools don’t offer computer science as a class and the ones that do often don’t count the course towards the credits students need to graduate from high school.
Without incentives to give computer science classes a try, students are often cheated out of learning about a field that is quickly growing and eagerly seeking young people to fill a deficit in employees, especially ones of color.