This week, Miami-Dade schools will participate in Code.org's Hour of Code initiative. School board member Raquel Regalado says Florida high-tech jobs are growing, and students need to be ready.
She stresses that for today's kids coding will become like typing was to earlier generations.
"In the same way that right now we all handle our own email, this generation is going to handle their own apps, their own basic web development," says Regalado.
The Hour of Code program is free and allows kids from kindergarten to 12th grade to go online and learn about coding for 60 minutes. The initiative also tracks how many kids participate from individual schools, and Regalado hopes to present that as evidence to state lawmakers who support beefing up computer science at the college level.
She says that conversation isn't happening at the K-12 level.
"Even though all the data shows us that kids have to get engaged and interested in computer science in middle school, at a minimum, if not elementary," says Regalado.
Through the program, the district is also inviting people who work in the computer science field to visit county schools this week and talk to students about their work.
"In Miami-Dade County Public Schools, we focused the last two years on providing students with access to technology, and now, I believe, we need to switch gears and teach them about how the technology works," says Regalado.
The district is making the program available to all county schools, but it will be up to individual schools to decide if and how to implement it. Anyone interested in participating can go to the Hour of Code website for a free tutorial.