With the sponsorship of Cirrus Insight, 6,778 students from Knox County Schools and Oak Ridge City Schools managed to earn their place in the Guinness Book of World Records, for taking part in the world’s largest coding class, which happened at several venues during last November 8th – a feat validated by representatives from the book of records.
The event, also organized by CodeTN, a Great Schools Partnership initiative that organizes coding clubs, camps, and competitions, had the goal of putting students working together and also bring their attention to a field that is constantly growing, not only in terms of volume but also in terms of job vacancies and opportunities.
In fact, programming is one of the biggest and hottest job fields right now. Data shared back in 2012 by United States officials predicted a growth of jobs in the field of IT by 22%, with some specific jobs, such as software developers, growing 32%. This really is a great indicator of how this field evolves, and there are no indications that this will change in the future.
With this in mind, it is important to attract kids to this field – and nothing works as well as fund and engaging activities like this one, which had the added bonus of linking them to a World Record, something they will keep through their lives. Caleb Fristoe, project manager of CodeTN, agrees:
“Computer Science will provide the blue-collar work of the future, and by starting today, we can equip our students with the necessary skills to compete for those jobs. We were inspired by the work of Code.org which organizes the annual Hour of Code. We participate in that every year and we decided to make a concerted effort to set a world record. There are now 6,778 local elementary, middle, and high school students who are really excited about coding.”
The lesson used classroom computers with Scratch, a web application developed by the MIT. Brandon Bruce, co-founder and COO of Cirrus Insight, explained how it worked:
“The starting screen in Scratch shows an animated cat. You know the students are making progress when they make the cat meow. The next thing they learn is how to apply a repeating loop. That is when the classroom gets loud with a lot of meowing cats!”
With this great initiative, there are now nearly seven thousand kids with their interested in computer science absolutely sparked, as well as being part of an unforgettable experience of entering the Guiness Book of World Records.