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Celebrate Canadian Computing Education Day 2014 in Video (and in Song, If You Like)

February 21, 2014 is the 2nd Annual Canadian Computing Education Day. It is an initiative of the Canadian Association of Computer Science/Association d'Informatique Canadienne (CACS/AIC) whose members are the universities across Canada that offer Computer Science degree programs. CACS/AIC has also been actively encouraging the formation of CSTA chapters (or equivalents) in each Canadian province and territory. CACS/AIC is just one of many organizations concerned with computer science education in Canada.

Computer Science Education Week, focused on the United States of America though international in intent, is an important activity in Canada. This year, many Canadians took part in the Hour of Code. The anniversary of Grace Hopper's birth is a great time to celebrate computer science education: I enjoy showing my students a YouTube video of her appearance on a 1986 episode of Late Night with David Letterman.

A week-long event in the United States seems appropriately scaled as a day-long event in Canada. The day in February was chosen at the end of what we call "Reading Week" at Canadian universities, which happens at the same time of year for many institutions. In several provinces, the week begins with a statutory holiday on the Monday. The rationale is that universities without students are better able to host visitors from the surrounding community during open house events. Last year, computer labs were full of kids eager to experiment with LEGO blocks and robots, arduino hardware, and vegetables as musical instruments using Makey Makey (all controlled by Scratch programs). We suggested that Canadian Computing Education Day could also be known as Scratch Day Canada (since Scratch Day always seems to happen on a very important long weekend in Canada). We will make the same suggestion this year, for all those Scratchers out there, and we will also have the wonderful resources from Code.org and the Hour of Code that will be sure to provide even more excitement with kids of all ages.

Inspired by Hour of Code's videos, especially their Hour of Code kickoff video that featured Canadian singer Carly Rae Jepson, we decided to invite Canadians (wherever they may be) to submit short video segments (not more than about 30 seconds) talking about the importance of computing and computer science education in Canada.

You can find out all the details about the project at: http://www.CanCompEd.ca/2014video. Links on that page will direct you to the great code.org videos for inspiration, in case you aren't sure what to say. Don't worry if don't have a videographer available. Your video messages captured on cellphones will also help to capture hearts and minds when the video is released on February 21

As you can see, there is no time to waste: make sure that your friends, family, and favourite celebrities and movers and shakers know about the video project. We welcome submissions from everyone, and especially encourage students and teachers to take this on as a class project.

For those on twitter, please retweet this to your followers:

Are you passionate about #CS Ed? Submit your short video celebrating #compsci in Canada for #CanCompEd Day cancomped.ca/2014video/

And follow @CanCompEd to help the video launch to go viral.

Please visit http://www.CanCompEd.ca/2014video and make your submission no later than Tuesday, February 18.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact me: hepting@cs.uregina.ca

Daryl Hepting, Ph.D.
CACS/AIC Outreach Committee Chair
CSTA Saskatchewan Chapter President

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