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codeSpark
An Entrepreneur’s View: codeSpark, Delivering Fun Computer Science Education to All Kids, Everywhere
By Grant Hosford, CEO, codeSpark
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Joe Shochet and I are “geek dads” who also happen to be co-founders of codeSpark, an Idealab-backed learning game start-up.

We pooled decades of entrepreneurial experience in digital services and online games to pass on our love of digital creation to our own kids and the rest of “generation tablet”. codeSpark’s mission is to deliver fun computer science education to all kids, everywhere.

Our first game, "The Foos", is a gender-inclusive virtual world where kids program cute characters with a 100% visual language. It combines curriculum-driven structured play with open-ended free play. Since there are no words in the app, pre-readers and non-English speakers can easily play.

The plan is for "The Foos" to become the standard for introducing young kids around the world to computer science and programming. We've intentionally made it fun for both girls and boys and have tested with a wide variety of ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds. codeSpark kids will be confident that they are good at computer science and that computers can help them no matter what they do in life.

Learning to code is a hot topic right now. There haven’t been this many educators and parents talking about teaching kids to code since the early 1980's when PCs and Macs first went mainstream. The difference this time around is that many more people understand that the real goal isn’t learning how to code, it's learning how to think.

No one who is part of this new movement believes all kids should grow up to be programmers. codeSpark believes it would be a beautiful outcome if all kids grew up knowing how to use computers to enhance their natural abilities, whatever those are, and gained the confidence to be "makers" instead of just consumers.

Computer programming is ultimately about problem solving and creating. "Thinking like a computer scientist" really means understanding what problem you are facing and breaking down that problem into solvable chunks. The better you get at recognizing the problem, the more efficient your solutions become.

Supporting our approach is new research from institutions like Tufts University and MIT which reveals that learning core computer science concepts delivers benefits beyond improvements in math and logic skills. For example, a recent study by Tufts Professor Marina Bers shows that reading comprehension in kids as young as five improves as students improve their understanding of sequencing. This type of universal benefit from studying programming makes it easy for parents to support the idea of ALL kids learning to code.

codeSpark is changing the world by teaching a global generation of kids to use computers to bring their ideas to life. We are off to a great start as over 100,000 people downloaded "The Foos" in the first 4 weeks it was available. You can check out "The Foos" here – http://thefoos.com/. Play it today and join the coding revolution!

Learn more about "The Foos" >

Go to the codeSpark website >

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