Obama Helps Kick Off Computer Science Education Week

'Don’t just buy a new video game -- make one,' the president urges students in a new video.

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President Obama helped kick off Computer Science Education Week on Monday with a message to the country’s youth. “If we want America to stay on the cutting edge, we need young Americans like you to master the tools and technology that will change the way we do just about everything,” he said in a speech posted on YouTube.

“Don’t just buy a new video game -- make one,” he encouraged viewers. “Don’t just download the latest app -- help design it. Don’t just play on your phone -- program it.”

Students and teachers in classrooms around the globe will learn how to do just that as part of a worldwide initiative called the Hour of Code. So far, some 28,000 groups plan to host computer coding tutorials in 166 countries, The Seattle Times reported. (Go here for a real-time map of registrants.) Code.org created the free tutorial in collaboration with engineers from Microsoft, Google, Twitter and Facebook. It uses puzzles featuring characters from popular online games like “Angry Birds” to introduce students to coding concepts.Code.org points to a persistent gap between the number of computer-related jobs in the U.S. and students who study computer science.

“No one’s born a computer scientist,” President Obama said. “But with a little hard work, and some math and science, just about anyone can become one.”

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