What are your main goals and objectives for the future?
Our goal is to give every student the opportunity to learn computer science, and help more girls and underrepresented students of color pursue the field. Technology is everywhere today and every young person should have the 21st-century skills to take part in building the future of our world, no matter what future career they go into.
That means a few things, in terms of what we do:
1) Inspiring learners and breaking stereotypes
Videos, events, cultivating our community here on social platforms and campaigns like the Hour of Code — the point is, whoever you are, whether you’re a musician, an athlete, a doctor, an artist, a designer, or the President, understanding how technology works will take you far.
2) Creating fun, engaging curriculum that relates to real life
You might not know that Code.org has our own learning platform, Code Studio, with intro CS courses and tutorials that teach the basic concepts of computer science. Our team is hard at work finishing up a new high school course by fall, and releasing a lot more soon. It’s important for us to help students start learning early, and help make it fun. We’re always on our phones and computers anyway these days, why not learn how to make games, art and apps? We’ve been lucky to use assets from Angry Birds, Frozen, Plants vs. Zombies and more for our tutorials, and incorporate video lectures in our courses by people like Bill Gates, NBA player Chris Bosh, model and entrepreneur Karlie Kloss, Instagram founder Kevin Systrom, and lots of other inspiring people, from all walks of life, who know how important technology is for changing the world.
3) Getting computer science actually taught in schools
This is an important one. The fact is, if every student doesn’t have the chance to learn the basics of computer science as part of their normal school day, they might never think to try it, and might not discover a passion for it.
We’ve partnered with 70 public school districts in the US, including schools in NYC, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington DC area, Oakland, Miami, Houston and more.
Along with our partners, Code.org is funding training for new computer science teachers to start teaching the class in their schools. Plus, we offer free, one-day workshops for elementary school teachers around the country to help them incorporate Code Studio into their classrooms. Our partnerships aren’t just about offering CS, but recruiting more diverse students, getting the word out in the community, and making courses engaging for any student who starts learning.
4) Changing policies to better support computer science
Lastly, Code.org works to remove barriers at the federal, state and local levels that are keeping computer science courses out of schools. For example, in 24 US states, even AP CS in high school only counts as an elective, so students are less likely to take it and schools are less likely to offer it. And we advocate for policies that bring it to more students, like funding for training teachers, establishing standards, etc. There’s still a lot of work to do but we’ve come along way. Code.org has helped change policies in 16 US states to support computer science since we started in 2013.