I grew up around computers. We were some of the first families in Pakistan to get access to internet at home via the first ISP Digicom (the not so glorious days of dial-up). My sister was studying at college in the US, and my parent's primary motivation was to email her which would have been faster than waiting weeks for her letters to reach us by post.
Accessing computers in my early teens inspired me to study computer science in college. It affected my brother Asad – around eight years old at the time- profoundly differently. He immersed himself in a way that I could not really understand. He used something called BBS to chat with strangers across the world. Ubuntu once delivered CDs (again for free!) during our summer vacations in the early nineties. I had to look up the word Ubuntu in the dictionary in our encyclopedia set. He ordered books (strangely offered for free by Intel at the time) and I remember the amazement from my friends in our little Karachi neighborhood when they were delivered to our house. Something ordered on the internet! And delivered! The concept was mind boggling. That computer book would go with him everywhere. The result was that by the time he turned twelve he once called me excitedly to clicked on a black screen and the computer automatically said “hello world” back. I didn’t think much of it till I tried to play a game one afternoon (we had to load up floppy disks to do this), and nothing worked. The black screen stayed black! And then suddenly the computer said “Who is the greatest?” and I knew immediately Asad was behind this. I had to type in “Asad is the greatest” to get the computer to “unlock” and as an older sister I was outraged at the horror and indignity.
Today, I have a son who turned eight this year. However the problem is that no one knows know what jobs will exist when he graduates. The conundrum is that we have to re-calibrate our education systems to develop skills that will be essential in a fast approaching future. However, our children our 21st century learners being taught by 20th century teachers in 19th century classrooms.
We believe that coding is and will continue to be to be essential in the future. Coding has a documented impact on math, resilience, creativity, and problem solving skills, all of which are critical 21st century skills. Through Code School we want to bring these skills to our children, because any mass change in academia is going to take time, and by then it may be too late for the children in school today.