Obama becomes first president to develop computer program

Last updated October 16, 2015 at 12:06 AM

Adrianna Mitchell, a middle-school student from Newark, NJ, explains a coding learning program to President Barack Obama during an “Hour of Code” event in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington, DC, on Monday, Dec 8, 2014.

Newark, NJ school student Adrianna Mitchell explains to President Barack Obama how to write code at the event "Hour of Code" in the “Eisenhower Executive Office Building” which is located in the White House complex.

President Barack Obama has told the world that everyone should learn to code. And now he's putting his money where his mouth is.

To help kick off the annual Computer Education Week, Obama became the first president to write a computer program. It was a very simple program that draws a square on a screen, but that's the point, says Hadi Partovi, co-founder of Code.org, an organization that promotes computer education. “All programming just starts,” he says. “No one starts by creating a complicated game.”

Last year, Obama gave a speech on YouTube to promote computer education week, but did not write any code himself. “Learning these skills is not only important for your future. It is important for the future of our country, ”the president said in the video. "If we want America to stay on the edge of the cup, we need young Americans like you to master the tools and technology that will change the way we do just about everything."
Obama was echoing the sentiment of the growing code literacy movement, which seeks to expand computer science and programming education across the world. Code literacy advocates argue that information technology itself is becoming more and more deeply integrated into our lives, everyone should apprendre a bit more about how computers work. An entire industry has sprung up around the idea, with companies offering children's games that teach the basics of programming in three months full-time in "bootcamps" dedicated to teaching people how to code well enough to get off the hook. a job.

Code.org introduced the “Hour of Code” campaign last year with the goal of getting all students to try programming for just an hour and show them that anyone can learn the basics. As part of the campaign, the organization created a site that compiles long hours of different tutorials, most of which were created specifically for the campaign.

Obama wrote his piece of code during this year's Code.org event, which brought together 20 middle school students from the Seventeenth South Street School in Newark, New Jersey, in the White House, where they met the President in person and worked on the Hour of Code tutorials. Partovi says that even the president didn't follow the tutorial to the end, but went from workstations to stations watching the students working. He did, however, complete exercises, which involved both the use of Google's Blockley tool, and writing a line of code using the JavaScript programming language.

Obama joined New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who tweeted in 2012 that his New Year's resolution was to learn to code, among leading US politicians who have taken the first steps towards a literacy code.