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Museum of Science Celebrates Computer Science Education

January 16, 2014

In December, 15 million students in 170 countries wrote 500,000,000 lines of code in one hour during Computer Science Education Week. That weekend hundreds of visitors braved freezing rain and snow to discover how important and fun computer science could be at the Museum of Science, Boston.

Says Museum educator Lydia Beall, "Our goal was to inspire a future generation of software engineers."

This year, Computer Science Education Week launched an "Hour of Code" to engage 10 million students in coding through a one-hour introduction to computer science to demystify "code" and demonstrate that anyone can create it. The annual event celebrates the birthday of computer pioneer Admiral Grace Hopper, who popularized the term "debugging" when her team removed a real moth from their system in 1947.

For Computer Science Education Weekend, engineers from Museum Premier Partner Microsoft offered code games where visitors learned programming basics, tried out TouchDevelop, a Microsoft Research mobile application development tool, and Kodu, a new visual programming language made to create games. Microsoft programmer Dan Gonyea told online news source BostInno that he hoped Museum guests would learn they could start to "make the apps and games and websites that people use everyday."

In addition, Cambridge, Mass.-based robotics company Neurala, Inc, worked with the Museum to enhance its Mars Yard Robot Mission, where visitors piloted a robot on a simulated Mars surface to retrieve data from a stranded rover. (photo on right).

"We think it is important that as many people as possible experience how robots can enrich their lives and expand scientific discovery. Working with the Museum of Science Neurala hopes to provide a fun, educational robotic experience and support the educational mission of the museum," said Massimiliano Versace, Neurala CEO.

Museum visitors could also program their way through an orchard to pick fruit, create a game controller or make a sculpture that might light up, buzz, or move.

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

Related Links

The Museum of Science, Boston

  1 Science Park, Boston, MA 02114  phone: 617-723-2500   information@mos.org