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Code.org Launches $5 Million Crowd-Funding Campaign

Code.org, the celebrity-backed nonprofit responsible for last year's Hour of Code, has launched a new campaign: It's now trying to raise $5 million through the crowd-funding site Indiegogo to help introduce 100 million students to computer coding. 

A group of individuals and major companies, including Microsoft, Google, Salesforce, Bill Gates, and Reid Hoffman (co-founder of LinkedIn) have committed to matching contributions dollar-for-dollar. The effort has already garnered nearly $75,000 since its official launch yesterday.

Code.org says the ultimate goal is to train 10,000 computer science teachers and to get 100 million students to participate in the Hour of Code. The year-old group says it has already put computer science courses into 30,000 classrooms and trained nearly 1,000 teachers. According to the website, 44 million people have tried an hour of coding.

The Los Angeles school district also announced yesterday that it would be partnering with Code.org to expand its computer science offerings. Over the next three years, Code.org will donate teacher training and course materials and, according to the LA School Report, eventually bring computer science to all K-12 students in the district. 

The second international Hour of Code will take place December 8-14 (during Computer Science Week). The Indiegogo campaign closes at the end of that week as well.

As my colleague Ben Herold has pointed out, Code.org has received some criticism for its approach to collecting and storing the personal data of students. Some have also questioned the value of teaching elementary students to code in school, saying they should be focused on more basic skills. 

Below is a video that Code.org put out to make its case for donations. 

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