LANSING–Michiganders are invited to join together in an attempt to gain a Guinness World Records title during a free, online computer programming event aimed at helping Michigan achieve its goal to become a leader in computer science education and talent.
“As a computer scientist and engineer myself, I am so excited to see Michiganders rise to the challenge and demonstrate that there is no better place to make computer science history than here in Michigan,” said Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II. “I encourage students, educators, parents, volunteers and computer users of all ages to join the challenge and work together to make history and set this world record.”
Michigan Accelerate Computer Science (MACS), launched by Accelerate4Kids Foundation and the Michigan Film & Digital Media Office, part of the Michigan Economic Development Corp., is organizing the event. MACS is a collaborative made up of public, private, education and community stakeholders to host this interactive, educational event as a way to promote the shared mission of increasing access to computer science education.
Thanh Tran, executive director of Accelerate4Kids, is a Michigan entrepreneur and an immigrant from Vietnam who used technology to grow his business and now teaches it to youth around the state with his nonprofit.
“Computer science is the basis for all things in the world we live in and winning this Guinness World Records title during the pandemic is critical for not only preparing our youth for the future, but to bring our community together,” Tran said.
For more information and to register for “Coding for Michigan,” visit this link. The deadline to register is Dec. 7 at 11:59 p.m. and the event is free. Once registration is completed, participants will receive an email within a week of the event containing their unique username and password for logging in. If the Guinness World Records attempt is successful, participants will be sent a link where they may purchase their own official certificate directly from Guinness World Records.
Coding for Michigan is sponsored by Google, Oakland County, Kerr Russell Attorneys and Counselors, Oakland Schools Education Foundation and the Michigan Department of Education.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has proclaimed Dec. 7-13 “Computer Science Education Week” in Michigan, recognizing that computer science is a 21st-century skill that is listed among the top 50 job growth areas in Michigan.
Computer science jobs are the No. 1 source of new wages in the United States, and these jobs are projected to grow at twice the rate of all other jobs. Careers grounded in computer science often lead to high-tech, high-wage sustainable jobs, and engaging students early increases their confidence, determination and creativity.
The average salary for a computing occupation in Michigan is $82,386, which is significantly higher than the average salary in the state, according to Code.org, a global advocacy organization that promotes computer science literacy. The adoption of standards for K-12 computer science education by the Michigan Department of Education in May 2019 aims to increase the percentage of Michigan public schools teaching foundational computer science courses.
Proclaiming the first week in December as “Computer Science Education Week” is in part to honor Grace Hopper, among the first female pioneers in computer science. Hopper worked on the Harvard Mark I computer, a general-purpose electro-mechanical computer developed by IBM used during World War II to calculate mathematical tables.
The Michigan Film & Digital Media Office focuses on building educational partnerships with schools and works to elevate computer science education as a means to a career in the state’s digital media industries.
“As students and parents alike have adapted to working in a virtual environment this year, ‘Coding for Michigan’ presents an opportunity to continue that learning process,” said Salem Ghirmai, director of the film and digital media office. “By participating in this event, Michiganders of all ages can learn a new skill while helping to put Michigan on a global stage. Computer science continues to grow worldwide as a field with plentiful career opportunities. We need to empower Michiganders with the resources needed to succeed in a high-tech world where critical thinking and creativity are premiums.”
Improving computer science education is at the core of another key partnership between film and digital media office and Google to promote Computer Science First (CS First), a no-cost online-based curriculum designed for middle-school students. CS First aims to increase accessibility to a discipline where proficiency is a highly marketable skill to current and future job prospects.
Google provides the curriculum (available through a website to classrooms) to schools around the country. The introduction of CS First in Michigan, however, marks the first time a state agency has been the primary coordinator of the program.
For more about the MEDC and its activities, visit www.MichiganBusiness.org.