Why #WeSpeakCode Matters

Coding Minifigs on Microsoft Windows Laptop with Kodu

The family that codes together...

Over the last few weeks, I've been completely and utterly taken over by life and work. That's the way it is most days, I know. But, every now and then, things get a bit crazier than usual. This is one of those moments!

In fact, that's the reason that in-between client work and life commitments, I can't seem to do much. Like go out of my house or blog. My brain seems to go flat and all I can do is nap or binge-watch TV shows. Or read stuff online.

But, I can't complain. I love what I do. Especially when I see how it becomes part of something bigger and cooler than I can imagine.

One such project is the #WeSpeakCode campaign by Microsoft YouthSpark.

When the amazing Clair Deevy first invited me to be a part of this through Vervely, I was thrilled. Not just because of the extra work I'm getting, but the whole concept of it: Encouraging everyone in the Asia Pacific region to learn how to code.

Yes, it's inspired by Code.org's "Hour of Code" movement. I first heard of Hour of Code some time last year and I was immediately excited about it, even though the campaign was US-centric. Since then, I've seen Hour of Code implemented in different countries/regions. #WeSpeakCode is the first one implemented in Asia Pacific.

And, since its official launch last week (or rather, close to two weeks ago), I've been amazed with how the concept has spread. Watching the #WeSpeakCode hashtag on Twitter and even on Instagram (#WeSpeakCode) gets me all excited, as I see people learning how to code in the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Malaysia, Indonesia, South Korea, Vietnam, and Singapore.

There were a few special thrills apart from the hashtags, including seeing the campaign being supported by US President Barack Obama and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.  And, seeing several other celebrities and great people supporting it through this video:

While my role in this whole campaign is relatively tiny (mostly helping out with social media strategies, management, content, analytics, etc), I still feel extra pumped to be part of it in some way. Really great to see how something like this can happen from just an idea to becoming a movement, with the contributions of many amazing individuals and groups.

And, if you decide to give coding a try (just visit code.org for some cool tutorials or check out these resources over at WeSpeakCode), take a selfie and join the #WeSpeakCode Instagram contest. There are several cool prizes to be won - including a Nokia Windows Phone (three grand prize winners!). Very easy to take part!

As part of this whole campaign, I even managed to encourage my son to do a Kodu tutorial (how to make a simple game using Kodu). And yes, he's only 10 and he's been learning how to code in his free time since he was about 7 or 8 years old. Since most school still don't teach coding, he hasn't really done much more. He's learning what he can based on online tutorials and videos, but he's also frustrated that there aren't enough time and resources to learn more, especially at school.

So yes, you can see why the whole #WeSpeakCode campaign is not just interesting to me on a professional level. It's really something that I support even on a personal level. I hope you will support it too!

 

About the Author Shai Coggins (MTeach, MSoc Sci App Psych)

Shai has been managing and blogging here at ShaiCoggins.com for 17 years. Here, she writes about creativity, productivity, and how to recharge for a better, happier lifestyle. She is the author of Today: Life Journal, Colour Bliss: Kaleidoscopes, and a little known children's book. A serial entrepreneur, Shai also currently runs Vervely.com, a boutique digital media agency offering online content, community, and conversion marketing services. Her blogging experience and digital work have been featured in various media, including being listed in Fast Company's "Most Influential Women in Technology" list. Originally from Manila, Shai lived in Singapore and the USA before moving to Australia with her British husband. They have two children, a pet bunny, and a rambunctious rescue Labrador.

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