“Embrace your own inner fear. It’s the easiest way to get started.” – Hadi Partovi, USA
If you have been following the conversation about students learning how to code, you’ve likely heard of Code.org.
When we first spoke with Code.org founder Hadi Partovi back in 2013, they were just launching Hour of Code, which, “…started with a simple vision that every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn computer science,” says Partovi.
It was – and continues to be – no small task. “We had to tackle the problem of how does one change the education system, how does one add a new course to the curriculum, especially how does one add a new course like computer science which is so intimidating to students and teachers,” says Partovi.
In the three years since the idea started, Code.org has seen more than 200,000 educators try Hour of Code, and “many, many of them – with millions of students – have gone on to teach follow-on computer science courses.”
When Partovi joined us for Hack the Classroom last month, his message was simple: “…Our schools should be teaching computer science,” he said. “People assume that computer science is on the rise…the reality is that computer science education is recovering after a 10-year decline. Nine in 10 parents want their children to study computer science, but only one in four schools teach computer science.”
In addition, computer science has been a field dominated by white and Asian males. Getting African Americans, Hispanic and Latino Americans, and women involved in computer science has been a struggle. But, thanks to Code.org’s focus on getting these under-represented groups into coding, Partovi notes, for the first time in two decades, “that trend of fewer and fewer women going into this field has started to turn around, and we’re seeing more women go into it. And actually more women than men, in terms of the growth rates.”
Partovi encouraged Hack the Classroom participants to bring coding into their own classrooms, even if their schools don’t yet offer a formal computer science curriculum. In addition to participating in Hour of Code, Partovi noted that code.org offers one-day workshops for elementary teachers and great tutorials for anyone interested in learning how to code.
His advice for teachers looking to hack their own classrooms with computer science? “Embrace the intimidation.”
“Nobody among today’s adults is an expert at computer science,” he says. “And it is a field of self-learners. So, entering a classroom trying to teach a field that you’re not an expert at is expected. In fact, modeling your own learning is one way you can show your kids that this is how you learn. You don’t just get lectured and taught something by know-it-all experts. You, as a teacher, learn alongside your students. If you embrace your own inner fear, it’s the easiest way to get started.”
Here, Partovi gives us even more insight into how Code.org is working to get computer science into the curriculum of each and every school, and why computational thinking will be a required skill for any career for students of today. “There’s not a single field that doesn’t need it, and not a single career – if you think 10-20 years out – that isn’t impacted by it.”
Enjoy today’s Daily Edventure with Hadi Partovi.