Can the world's most popular virtual classroom, the Khan Academy, bring the same magic to learning computer science that they've brought to brushing up on math and science concepts? With the launch of the new Khan Academy Computer Science project, founder Sal Khan and his team are certainly giving it a shot.
The head of the initiative, John Resig, wrote on his blog that the platform is designed for "people with no programming knowledge" and they intend to give coding newbies "an engaging and fun environment to learn in." Because coding is such an interactive process, the tutorials on the platform facilitate an organic process of exploration and figuring out how things work. Resig says that instead of "explicitly teaching how a computer works or fundamental programming concepts" the lessons "emphasize creativity and exploration."
The lessons are designed to engage learners of all ages. Indeed, some of the first test drivers of the computer science content were middle school students who headed to Khan Academy's summer Discovery Lab. Resig says they were "blown away" by what the students were able to create. After an hour the students had learned enough to design and draw their own animated characters. After three hours they knew how to add "logic to control the animations."
Given that knowing how to code is increasingly seen as essential in the 21st century as knowing how to read or write, Khan's effort joins a handful of existing learn-to-code platforms, like the popular Code Academy and Udacity. Given that millions of people around the world view Khan Academy videos every month, the potential to ensure that even greater numbers of learners have the computer science skills they need is pretty exciting. Besides, with so many great options, now you really have no excuse for not learning to code.
Photo via (cc) Flickr user CEThompson