“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. Because CS had not been taught in schools before, he quickly realized they needed teachers–and a training program for the teachers. 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.
Partovi says what he remembers most of the first year of launching Code.org is “how little sleep I got.” Funds were tight as Partovi and his co-founder, his brother, Ali, initially funded the venture with their own money; Partovi was the first and only employee for the first seven months.
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. Students had participated in “The Hour of Code,” a one-hour intro to computer science designed to demystify coding, 20 million 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.”