khanacademy

The Kids Are All Coding; Why Aren’t You?

I’m working with a group of 6th-8th grade girls in our Middle School who easily blew past the first five or so lessons on CodeAcademy today.

I was impressed how quickly and easily they groked ideas like substrings and declaring variables. Turns out they aren’t the only ones interested in coding…

Codecademy’s CodeYear Attracts 100,000 Aspiring Programmers In 48 Hours | TechCrunch: “Two days ago, Codecademy — a startup that’s looking to bring programming to the masses — launched a nifty initiative called Code Year. It’s pretty straightforward: sign up, and each week you’ll receive some programming lessons in your email inbox.

And apparently, there are a lot of people who want to learn how to code. Code Year just had its 100,000th user sign up — a remarkable milestone given that the site has only been up for 48 hours. And that number continues to grow at a rapid pace.”

We’re using CodeAcademy as the first steps of a trimester long endeavor to make an official iOS and HTML5 app for our school.

I didn’t come up with this idea… they did.

Pretty soon, these girls and their peers who are toting around iPads, iPod Touches, Kindle Fires, iPhones and Android Devices like we toted around Walkmans are going to start demanding more from their web experiences just as we of the Walkman generation demanded more from our music experiences (and we see what happened to the music industry in the course of a decade).

If you’re going to have a viable web business in 10 or 20 years, it’s time to learn how to code beyond some basic PHP or WordPress hooks.

The kids are alright.

Time to Learn to Code

I use MarsEdit more than any other app out there. If you write content for the web and have a Mac, MarsEdit is a must.

Its developer, Daniel Jalkut, has a fantastic post on the topic of programming as the literacy of the 21st century…

Red Sweater Software Blog – Learn to Code: “Literacy isn’t about becoming a Hemingway or a Chabon. It’s about learning the basic tools to get a job done. I think programming — coding — is much the same. You don’t have to be the world’s best programmer to develop a means of expressing yourself, of solving a problem, of making something happen. If you’re lucky, you’ll be a genius, but you start out with the basics.”

That’s why I’m crazy enough to be working with a group of 15 6th-8th grade girls to help them learn how to make an iOS or Android app. Coding is the new literacy.

Brent Simmons, maker of NetNewsWire and overall deep thinker on programming, has launched Code Year. Go and join up here (free, you get a weekly newsletter to help and prod you as you learn programming).

Go and learn.