Technology and Mobile news
When you think about hackathons and coders building something quick and dirty, you might envision a dark dorm room at Harvard filled with pizza boxes and empty Red Bull cans. That’s because the only window into this scene that the world has, outside of San Francisco and New York City, was the movie “The Social Network.” A non-profit organization called Code.org, founded by brothers Hadi Partovi and Ali Partovi, has launched today to change the perception of all of this, with the goal of making computer science and programming accessible for everyone. When I say everyone, I don’t mean everyone who wants to code. I really mean everyone.
I spoke to Hadi yesterday about where he thinks the massive gaps in learning how to code came from and what we can do as a society to fill them. He told me “It’s a challenge that our country needs to face.” Some of these gaps are because schools don’t treat computer science the way it should, and they don’t recognize coding as an essential skill, like reading and writing is. Partovi has taken this on as his personal goal, as well as the goal of Code.org.
Partovi has some amazing experience in the field, having been on the founding teams of iLike and Tellme, as well as investing in and advising companies like Facebook, Dropbox and Airbnb.
Having studied this myself and living in this industry, I’ve received the fruits of one of the best things to study and the world is being turned on its head because of software. Jobs are growing, industries are being turned upside down and our school system is acting in the opposite direction. It’s difficult to convince someone who is going for one of the highest paying jobs in the world to take one of the lowest.
Yes, working for a startup might not be the biggest money-maker and this has something to do with college students going down a separate path. However, if everyone was able to code just a little bit, imagine all of the great ideas that might just get off the ground simply because the person who came up with it didn’t have to wonder how to get started.
As we dug around a bit about Partovi’s undertaking, we learned that since Mark Zuckerberg is someone people aspire to be, at least when it comes to building something that you’re passionate about and following through on it, he may be participating in a short video for Code.org. Along with Zuckerberg, we’ve learned from a source that Bill Gates will also participate. The goal of this video will be to show kids that computer programming is a great thing to learn, and more fun than they think. This isn’t something reserved for the “super smart kids” in their parents’ basement.
Putting together this short film, we’re told, is Lesley Chilcott, a part of the Code.org team who produced “An Inconvenient Truth” and “Waiting For Superman.”
The video itself will be available to over 500K classrooms, thanks to a deal the team is working on. Will the teachers play it? That’s a separate question. And it’s also a call to action for all of you. If you know any teachers or parents of students who would be interested in what Code.org is doing, please send it along to them.