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“What would the school system look like if computer science had the same curriculum the way biology does?” That’s the question Hadi Partovi asked himself before launching his education nonprofit, Code.org.
They would have to build CS courses for each level in the K-12 system, and host hands-on professional training workshops to train teachers. They would also need to mount a fundraising and advocacy effort so they could solve the problem of a nonexistent CS curriculum at a national and global scale by convincing school districts, administrators, and policymakers about the need for computer science education in our schools in the 21st century.
By the end of their first year, it was clear that the program had filled a real gap in school curriculums, which had failed to keep up with the times. And 500,000 students had learned to code using Code.org‘s courses in classrooms worldwide, Partovi points out. He says the concept took off, “faster than Facebook, Google, or anyone else.”
Code.org has partnered with 180 of the largest school districts in the U.S. to add CS to the curriculum. These districts teach almost 10% of all U.S. students, and 15% of Hispanic and African American students. More than 800,000 teachers worldwide have signed up to teach the introductory CS courses on Code.org’s platform.
So one of his goals in launching Code.org has been to get more women and minorities to study computer science. He says the nonprofit uses a diversity lens in everything they do–from the training videos they develop to the teacher training workshops, and the “Hour of Code” video–making sure women and minorities are well represented. In thinking about their impact, Code.org measures diversity as a key metric across their programs.
Read more about Code.org by Aaron Hurst at Fast Company.