February 27, 2013
Tech Icons Line Up Behind Learn-To-Code Project
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
Leading tech firms and Silicon Valley icons are teaming up with the non-profit foundation Code.org to push for more computer science education in schools, promote new online coding tools and encourage students to take more of an interest in programming.
The initiative is the brainchild of brothers and entrepreneurs Hadi and Ali Partovi, who created Code.org with the goal of bringing more qualified engineers and programmers into the tech industry.
The foundation includes an all-star board of advisers, and has enlisted some of the most recognized names in technology, music, and sports to encourage students to take an interest in coding.
Some of the big names that have thrown their weight behind the project include tech moguls such as Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, Microsoft legend Bill Gates and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey. The group has also enlisted some of the most popular figures in music and sports, such as will.i.am of Black Eyed Peas and Miami Heat center Chris Bosh.
Documentarian Lesley Chilcott, producer of Waiting for Superman and An Inconvenient Truth, created a short promotional video about the project entitled What Most Schools Don't Teach.
The film includes footage of Zuckerberg, Gates, Bosh and others explaining how they began coding, and how relatively simple the process can be.
"When I was in school, I was in this after-school group called the Whiz Kids," Bosh said in the video.
"When people found out, they laughed at me, you know all these things. I'm like, 'I don't care, I think it's cool, I'm learning a lot and some of my friends have jobs."
Dropbox co-founder Drew Houston compared programmers to superheroes.
"[Coding] is the closest thing we have to a superpower,” he said.
According to Code.org, one million of America´s best jobs may go unfilled because just ten percent of US schools teach students how to code. By 2020, this unbalance of opportunity means there will be 1 million more jobs than students who can fill them.
"Here we are, 2013, we all depend on technology to communicate, to bank, and none of us know how to read and write code," Will.i.am says in the video.
"It's important for these kids, right now, starting at 8 years old, to read and write code."