Teach Me How to Startup

Why Not Get Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg to Teach Your Kid to Code?

"Hey, are you that guy from the Social Network?"
Stay in school, kids.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Stay in school, kids. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Sorry, children of America, but the computer lab is no longer reserved for downloading music illegally and starting shit on Facebook. There’s a whole horde of adults simply bound and determined to get the youth interested in programming as a career choice, and they are not taking “ugh, dad” for an answer.

The latest initiative: “Hour of Code,” which is designed to introduce baby maybe-devs to the glory of software programming. It’s the work of Code.org, the CS literacy group you might remember from that promo video featuring Zuck, Will.i.am and the Miami Heat’s Chris Bosh.

“This is a massive worldwide campaign for computer science education week” in December, explained  CEO Hadi Partovi in a presser yesterday. The idea is to, hopefully, introduce 10 million students to the field by convincing teachers to devote an hour to the basics of the subject that week.

Of course, recruiting that many teachers for something so off-topic might be a bit tough; maybe they can combine it with the afternoon usually devoted to Secret Santa? (Participating classrooms will also be entered to win prizes.)

Code.org will also be producing its own video tutorial, featuring “guest lectures” from famous comp sci geeks like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg and artwork from Angry Birds and Plants vs. Zombies. It’ll be designed like a game and walk students through the process of creating a game. Maybe the two drop-out heroes can devote a couple of minutes to do as I say, not as I do.

Companies like Google, Apple and Microsoft are backing the project, and ditto luminaries like Reid Hoffman. 50 participating classrooms will win videochats with folks like Mr. Gates, Susan Wojcicki and Jack Dorsey, who will try his very best not to accidentally talk students into massage therapy or surfing instead.

But remember, this is just a little taste for the kids. So the tutorial probably won’t cover back-biting among founders or pre-IPO jockeying for credit. Some things you’ve just got to learn on your own.

Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com