Code.org, a non-profit focused on computer programming education, launched this week with a short film starring Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey , Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, Dropbox CEO Drew Houston, will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas, Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat, and others.
The film is featured at www.Code.org, which also offers educational resources and a petition to promote programming in schools.
Code.org also published statements from 60 supporters, including business leaders like Richard Branson and Sheryl Sandberg; politicians such as Vice President Al Gore, Senator Marco Rubio , and Mayor Bloomberg; educators such as the presidents or deans of Stanford, Harvard, University of Washington, and the Superintendent of LA Unified Schools; and leading scientists, doctors, and astronauts. All of these leaders reinforced the message that more students should be learning to code — regardless of the career they wish to pursue.
“Basic computer programming is so easy that fifth-graders can learn it,” said Code.org founder Hadi Partovi, “yet only 10% of schools teach it, and only nine states recognize it for graduation credit. Learning to code unlocks creative thinking and opens unparalleled career options. Coding is the new American Dream and should be available to everybody, not just the lucky few.”
Directed by Lesley Chilcott, (An Inconvenient Truth, Waiting for Superman), the Code.org short film is meant to motivate students to learn computer programming. Via educational organizations, the film will be distributed to over 500,000 teachers, to be played in classrooms to over 10 million students.
Code.org also announced its advisory board: Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen, tech investor Ron Conway, Twitter creator Jack Dorsey, former ACM president Stuart Feldman, Dropbox CEO Drew Houston, Harvey Mudd president Maria Klawe, University of Washington Chair of Computer Science Ed Lazowska, Paypal founder Max Levchin, M.I.T. Media Lab founder Nicholas Negroponte, Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith, and Amazon SVP Jeff Wilke.