After School Programming

I remember when I was in high school. A friend of mine and I stayed after school and built a rudimentary football game on a TRS80 using Basic. It was the first actual coding I had ever done. I didn't get into more serious stuff until college.

I honestly can't remember if we had a teacher supervising us or not. I don't even remember the name of my friend who I did this with. The whole thing is fuzzy. It was almost 35 years ago.

But those fuzzy memories came back into focus for a second yesterday when I saw that our portfolio company Codecademy launched After School Programming Clubs. Like its Code Year initiative, After School Programming Clubs is a packaging innovation more than anything else. It takes the core Codecademy software learning tools and packages them up so that students and teachers can organize after school programming clubs.

Although Codecademy now supports a number of languages, they are using their Javascript and HTML stuff for After School Programming Clubs. Here's a snapshot of the idea:

After school
If you have students or teachers in your life that would want to create an After School Programming Club, send them here to get started.

#hacking education#Web/Tech

Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    I searched the image of the TRS80 instantly to see if it matched with that dim memory of me using one. It did!First thought. We’ve come a long way. Important thought. We are just getting started in what we can do on the web.

    1. fredwilson

      true and true

    2. kirklove

      “just getting started” = so true. Though I’m impatient. πŸ˜‰

      1. awaldstein

        Your comment above is right on Kirk. UX is the online version of a teacher’s personality in some ways. Can’t win without either.I”m not a programmer but I do speak UX and workflow, and believe that wireframes are a language that programmers do better to learn.Need to look and see whether there is some instructions in this area.

        1. fredwilson

          “UX is the online version of a teacher’s personality”that is a great insight Arnold

        2. RichardF

          Ha that’s great Arnold, I’ll tell my wife she has a great UX, not sure what sort of reaction that will evoke πŸ˜‰

          1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          2. RichardF


        3. laurie kalmanson

          i’ve been working less with wireframes lately and more collaboratively with designers, using post-it notes and corkboards, going thru the process of talking, sketching and thinking all at once. i come at ux from content, so that’s the extra sauce i bring. it’s working better than handing off a deck; more agile. at some point there will be a sitting down/annotating/requirements step, but more collaboration up front is a joy.

          1. awaldstein

            Maybe I misspoke because your process looks like my own actually.But having an annotated wireframe post that process as the handoff to development really saved time and money and had a better result.Collaborative through and through, But with an object in a common language (wireframe) to communicate with. Works with design as well,

          2. laurie kalmanson

            yes. not throwing a document over the transom is the key step; everything else is regardless of method — crayon, glitter, sticky notes, omnigraffle, interpretive dance; it doesn’t matter, as long as everyone who should play is putting their left foot in and their left foot out

          3. falicon

            as a developer, I absolutely love when I’m given a spec in interpretive dance. Makes my job both easy and enjoyable πŸ˜‰

          4. laurie kalmanson

            only rule: no mimes

          5. FAKE GRIMLOCK

            MMMM… MIMES.

          6. laurie kalmanson

            stranded on a desert island, what did one clown say to the other after they resorted to cannibalism and ate the third clown?”did that taste funny?”

          7. laurie kalmanson

            just add glitter

          8. falicon

            I have mostly moved towards the sketch pad and white board approach…I used to do it all digital (primarily in photoshop), but lately I’ve found I come up with what I think are cleaner and more usable designs if I first hand sketch them…I’m finding this especially true in focusing on mobile…I trace my phone on the sketch pad and then draw the little inner window space…and then I’ve got the real ‘limits’ to design within…yet to actually implement the mobile stuff I’ve been doing this with yet, but I’m excited to get it released because I *think* it will be received well. πŸ˜‰

          9. jason wright

            I never use a computer for sketching out my ‘dreaming’ ideas – paper and pencil only. Computers block me.

          10. laurie kalmanson

            mobile has so many transitions and the delight is so much in those; collaboration is the win there

        4. falicon

          When codeacademy starts teaching UI and UX…I’m all in for sure.

    3. laurie kalmanson

      my first laptop; better than the compaq “portable” that was the size and weight of a hatbox filled with bowling balls

      1. awaldstein

        Ha!When I was selling Sound Blasters, full size cards, we hauled around Dolch computers (size small suitcase) plus a monitor everywhere in the world to demo games.

        1. laurie kalmanson

          awesome.when i was an ink stained wretch working in a restaurant at night to support my bad habit of working for the washington post during the day, the monitor on my desk was a dumb terminal connected over the phone to the mother ship; the correspondent/buro chief had an ibm pc with the green letters; something like this beauty here.the fax machine had the paper that curled and had vanishing ink that became illegible after a few weeks.the so-called portable computer connected to the handset of a payphone with rubber cups / acoustic couplers, and you could hear the connection sounds.

  2. kirklove

    That’s pretty cool. I’m rooting for Codecademy (and others as I’m a big fan of learning). I’ve recently dove back into Codecademy to learn more Javascript and, well, it’s nice, but still leaves a lot to be desired. Could just be the way I like to learn so I’ll admit personal bias here, but I found the lessons to be non-intuitive especially when they have you do examples BEFORE they teach you or show you how. And the layout, UX and flow is still quite poor, again according to me. It just doesn’t make for a pleasing learning experience. Skimming the forums on their site (which is a great idea) suggests I’m not alone in this thinking. They are young and adding languages/lessons so I hope it gets better. Though I would polish the ones they have first.I know they had a huge sign up for CodeYear, be curious to see how many people have stuck with it or found the site frustrating like myself.For now, I’m still searching for that ideal (for me) online learning experience that blends, examples, in browser code, live teacher instruction, and real-time Q&A. Maybe I’m asking too much or maybe I’m too anchored in the “old” way and to someone like my daughter who will grow up with this, it is perfect and just what she’ll want. We’ll see.

    1. fredwilson

      great comment Kirk. they hired a designer in August who I met and discussed your design criticisms with (you’ve shared them before). she agreed with you. so let’s see if she can address them.

      1. kirklove

        Cool. I have, only because I want them to win.

    2. Nick Grossman

      I agree with you and have had similar frustrations w/ the user experience. But I think the bones are there — hopefully as fred points out they’ll be able to really address this. I do think there’s some risk in doing more promotions like this one (which is awesome, as was code year) before the experience is really nailed.

  3. RichardF

    This is a great idea to package it up for schools. Schools like it when services are tailored to them (even if the tailoring is not really that specific). Can schools in the UK access this? I’m sure my wife’s school would use this, they have a really extensive after school programme.

  4. Avi Deitcher

    Wow, serious memory lane. We built some type of game, I think a trivial-pursuit-like, on an Apple II. But I do remember my friend’s name, and he lives a 20-minute walk from me right now.

    1. fredwilson

      You have a better memory than me

      1. Avi Deitcher

        Maybe, I cannot remember… πŸ™‚

    2. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

      You are comparing Apples to Oranges πŸ™‚

      1. Avi Deitcher

        Apples to Tandys? πŸ™‚

  5. JimHirshfield

    “rudimentary football game”? that’s impressive for first time programming. I can’t remember what my first program did….um…hmm…perhaps it just output: “hello world”

  6. Abdallah Al-Hakim

    it sounds cool. I have code academy on my list of things to do as soon as my schedule allows it. I would love to get some basic coding knowledge. This after school initiatives are great because they simulate real world experience but on the web.

  7. takingpitches

    Man, I remember wanting the TRS-80 bad; my parents finally got me a TI99/4A.Built the world’s most boring baseball game with it. But I loved it!

  8. William Mougayar

    That’s a great idea. Another potential idea is to do a summer camp programming series.

      1. William Mougayar

        Cool. Maybe they can partner.

  9. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

    For me the first time I met with a computer was a Giant HP and Convex Super computer with UNIX and dump terminals…… but was very late into the game of computing …i was 23. (until then i have seen (wondered wow) people working on the green blinking giant monitors).

  10. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

    Off topic.How many of AVCers have used and seen a 8-inch floppy? &How many have heard “Wow 4MB RAM that is super fast man.”?

    1. Wavelengths

      That was a Trash80 Fred was using, to use the vernacular at the time.I had the rare privilege of seeing the Cray-1 supercomputer in action at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. (Serial number 3) Now THAT was a computer! Later, a friend of mine got a 3-foot diameter hard drive from the era to use as a coffee table.

  11. jason wright

    after school?then schools need reinventing.

    1. Andy

      Fantastic way to put it.

    2. LE

      “after school?”Elective, and only if you want. Why slow people who want to learn down with people who are there because they picked the lesser of evils and were forced to do it. In no way is programming something that everybody needs to take as a course if they don’t have the aptitude.

      1. jason wright

        It is the new grammar of the new world.

        1. LE

          “new grammar”I don’t agree that everyone needs to know and/or take a programming course. I’ve been dealing with computers and people for the longest time. Some just don’t get it. And I’m not even talking about programming at all. Just using computers. That’s the reason Apple is so successful.Everyone certainly has to have some basic idea of how computers work and what they can do. I don’t feel that learning programming is the best way to do that. I took exactly one programming course in college. (APL). I didn’t like learning it and I didn’t do very well learning it. Exposure is important but I don’t believe everyone is cut out or should be learning how to do programming.Learning programming takes memory and observance of pedantic details. It reminds me of learning to write vs. using writing to achieve something. I’ll never be a good writer and my grammar and things like that are definitely sub par (and I went to a good school by the way and did ok grade wise). But my ability to use words to get what I want “in the real world” has always worked for me (additionally using the spoken word which I have been able to completely mow people down and run circles around them). Yet I would probably fail any “test” of the same. Including a debate I’m guessing because a debate is essentially a test.

    3. fredwilson

      if you want to hack the system, you have to go around the core and work at the fringes

      1. jason wright

        chip away

    4. fredwilson

      I have seen that floppy (and many others)But punch cards are my favorite form of storage

      1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

        Was that reply meant for the question about 8-inch floppy?

  12. John Revay

    TRS80 from the Shack!I think I remember one of the early devices might have used cassette type tapes for storage.Image 35 years ago what it would be like – if we talked about X TB size – small form factor spinning drives, and solid state drives approaching 1TB#Moore’sLaw

    1. awaldstein

      Yup….i had the cassette tape for games! First game machine I had. First time I realized that I had to work in that industry.

  13. Aaron Klein

    When I was a kid, I wrote a stupid little “menu” program so you wouldn’t have to launch programs from the DOS command prompt. I went around everywhere pestering adults about it.I think I got one pity sale before pivoting into lemonade.

    1. karen_e

      *Pivoting into Lemonade: Plan B for the Fourth Grade Set*

      1. Aaron Klein


    2. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

      Born entrepreneur…. man I am 45-years late πŸ™‚

      1. Aaron Klein

        It’s never too late. πŸ™‚

      2. jason wright

        it’s all about ‘timing’, and your timing might be just right.

        1. Aaron Klein


        2. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

          I also ‘wish’ so. and thanx.

    3. LE

      Probably quality of product “stupid little” as well as your sales approach. Lemonade selling is basically charity. I normally just give the $1 and tell them to keep the lemonade.

      1. Aaron Klein

        Oh no, I told everyone it was “the most amazing menuing software in the history of the universe.” πŸ˜‰

        1. LE

          I’m half joking, and going strictly with what you said (which may of course have been self deprecation) but you didn’t bullshit yourself to believe in your own bullshit. (That’s an important part of the process because sales takes a certain degree of either narcissism and/or lack of conscience.)Apple you see precisely aligns their lenses. Because everyone else just slaps them together. (From today’s Iphone 5 announcement)

          1. Aaron Klein

            :)Aaron Klein

      2. laurie kalmanson

        my kid wanted a lemonade stand this summer. i made her do the math for buying lemons, ice, paper cups, and told her she would be paying for the supplies herself. she quickly went back to making friendship bracelets.

    4. Techman

      You should have cashed in on that. That could have technically been the first GUI.

    5. fredwilson

      I knew DOS backwards and forwards. I taught it to MBAs who had to use PCs in business school to pay my way through Wharton. Also Lotus and WordPerfect.

      1. Aaron Klein

        My dad and mom still joke that I didn’t have time to get in trouble because I was too busy reading the DOS manual. πŸ˜‰

      2. laurie kalmanson


  14. ShanaC

    I think windows ruined life for everyone – school computing to me became about Oregon trail.In other school news – strike in Chicago…thoughts?

    1. Aaron Klein

      The Obama campaign will do ANYTHING to get that off the front pages.

      1. Elia Freedman

        Speaking of getting Chicago off the front page, will be interesting to see how he responds to the news from Libya. Killing Americans is usually not just frowned at.

        1. Aaron Klein

          Such sad news. We need to stand together as a country against such a horrible attack. Every country has idiots, and there is absolutely no YouTube video important enough to serve as an excuse to fire a rocket propelled grenade into an embassy.

          1. JLM

            .While I know that movie critics can be very, very, very harsh, it is the height of naivete to suspect that a bunch of movie afficionados would use a RPG to weigh in on their views.This is obviously the work of a terrorist organization using the film and the protest as cover to unleash a violent and unwarranted attack.This is what happens when your enemies do not fear you. They screw with you and they kill your people..

          2. Aaron Klein

            Exactly. These are terrorists. There is no excuse, no good reason, no justification.

          3. LE

            “work of a terrorist organization”That said there are religious extremists that do all sorts of things in the name of religion (think of abortion clinic bombings and targeting abortion clinic doctors). All religions have a fucked up faction. The problem is when there is a large quantity of that faction combined with lack of education and lack of money.

        2. JLM

          .Not to go all Rambo on everyone but it is incomprehensible that our sovereign consulate was violated, our Ambassador killed together with 3 other Americans, our flag was burned and we are not yet reading about what the Marines have done in vengeance.I am as soft a weenie as the years have made me to be and I wish no man ill will but when you invade my country’s soil, kill my Ambassador and burn my flag — I WILL KILL YOU.I will kill you like a craven dog in the street.That Arab Spring thing, not so good..

          1. fredwilson

            I suspect that your desire for vengeance will be served

          2. LE

            I was really affected when I read about that this morning. The had a picture of the ambassador after the attack that was really moving. The other papers didn’t even print it. Go and take a look if you haven’t seen it. You will be moved practically to tears.In all honesty it made me angry for some of the things that @kidmercury says about the government on this blog. Really angry. As if there are no real threats and our government is in some conspiracy and that this hatred toward us doesn’t exist.

          3. ShanaC

            the internet might do it for you – apparently the ambassador was a mod at something awful and did diplomacy for EVE Online/Goonsquad. I know a friend of his from EVE – those guys in game can be cutthroat. I don’t think it would take much to rile them up to do something massive out in the middle east.

        3. ShanaC

          we’re scared of what the middle east is like right now

      2. fredwilson

        I hope Rahm busts the union. And I am voting for Obama.

        1. Aaron Klein

          You’re not alone.Education reform is the one issue I find myself agreeing with the President on more than once in a while.

        2. JLM

          .OK, we’re making a bit of progress, haha — at least you’re into union busting. Now let’s work on that Obama vote..

          1. Abdallah Al-Hakim

            I have no numbers to back this up but I have a feeling that there are many left leaning voters (i.e. Democrats in US) who are anti-union.

          2. JLM

            .Union cement finisher here in my teens during summers.Union members are often quite well to do. The Chicago teachers are not exactly on a breadline.It makes sense that there is much to dislike amongst the envious Democrats..

          3. LE

            One of my neighbors growing up was a union leader for a Philly local. Never forget the day he came home with his brand new Mercedes Benz 450SEL. Everybody else was still driving Cadillacs but the union guy had a luxury german car. (Was before “buy American” shit so I”m simply saying he had a very expensive car.) This, dovetailed (same time period) with the union shakedowns at the Coliseum in NYC (trade show space) that I experienced, and my feelings were shaped at a very early age about unions. You couldn’t plug in your own extension cords. You had to have a union electrician do that. You couldn’t assemble your own display shelves. You needed a union carpenter. On top of that you had to bribe the work boss to even get guys assigned to do the work (like tipping the maitre d for a table). This was all while NYC was going bankrupt at the time.I remember once having a meeting for some reason at a small business and when I arrived the two owners were sitting down on the shop floor and eating lunch with these lunch pails beside them. They sat there right in front of me and continued eating their lunch for about 10 minutes. Then they turned, looked at the clock, got up, and we all went into an office. Turns out that before they owned this business they were union guys. And that is just the way they continued to do things, even when they owned a business. True story. It was very strange.

          4. fredwilson

            everyone i know

        3. ShanaC

          I’ve been in CPS – the conditions are extremely rough, particularly for low income schools such as those on the southside. There also is massive attrition rate to the burbs from said same schools if the teachers are good because of the way ranking works in neighboring districts.Chicago schools are really badly run. Way too much high level administration, way not enough support services for the fact that you have to make up for the fact that a lot of kids are coming from totally messed up neighborhoods and families. Longer hours with 40 student mix grade classes in a room designed for 27 is extremely difficult….Granted I don’t like the teacher union structure, but it isn’t just the union that is the problem

          1. fredwilson

            of course it isn’t.but if you look at what Bloomberg’s work in the NYC schools has taught us, it is that giving the Mayor control over the schools is a first step, and that the union needs to get in line behind that leadership. the unions have fought the mayor in NYC every step of the way and even with that, they have made tremendous progress. this fight between Rahm and the Unions is about who is in control. it is not really about anything else.

  15. laurie kalmanson

    emailed to my kid’s head of school #becauseawesome

  16. LissIsMore

    Wow – what a great coincidence to see this post. I am going to be teaching an elective course on computers at a local independent high school this fall. The After School Programming Club looks like it could be a nice format for introducing the class to coding. I am thinking of using this – will let you know how it goes.

  17. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Shared with my NJ parents list πŸ™‚ Huge fan of Codecademy’s mission!In college, I had a Brother typewriter that saved documents to floppies. Then it would automatically type out your document when you were ready. You just had to feed in each sheet of paper. Anybody else have one of those?

    1. Wavelengths

      I had a typewriter that would store ONE WHOLE PAGE in memory. I could go back, edit and repair any typos. Then I could print out a perfect page. What could be better?

    2. JLM

      .Many moons ago I was in business before the invention of the PC. And, then, from the heavens came the PC.I bought an Apple IIC, a dot matrix printer and VisiCalc. All told about $7,500 of doo dah. Today, what — $600?I knew how to make spreadsheets in my head but now I put it on paper and even better yet on a freakin’ computer.I made a simple loan calculation, — principal, interest, AOLB, term — to calculate the interest for a construction loan for a high rise office building.Looking over my shoulder, I told my colleagues, all fabulously successful businessmen, that this little jewel was going to allow me to change the interest rate assumption and IN ABOUT 45 SECONDS I WOULD HAVE THE CHANGED ANSWER FOR TOTAL INTEREST (void funding until breakeven).And, like magic, in just 32 seconds, there was the answer.Everyone gasped in awe and marvelled at the beginning of the modern age of computing.And, that’s when I became a financial geek..

    3. laurie kalmanson

      the correction ribbon on the ibm selectric, and the spinning and changeable type ball: two amazing inventions at the time

  18. Elia Freedman

    I have been thinking about this and thought I’d share here. I started writing code so I could write my own games, particularly sports games. Back then I could write text based games and they would have been considered fairly mainstream for the time. But today… the game quality is through the roof and it doesn’t feel like there is a beginning level for new programmers that feels reasonable. I can’t help but wonder if that is discouraging for new programmers.

    1. falicon

      True. Games are really difficult to break into. I also think successful games, like most businesses, now require a team of talents to have a real shot (very rare to have one person who could pull off the graphics, story, AND coding to make a solid game – and that speaks nothing of the marketing, distribution, and revenue model that *should* go hand-in-hand with a ‘good’ game).Mobile opens a lot of opportunity for indy game devs. but I think even that is still geared towards the small, experienced, talented team…very, very hard to break into…lots of dues to pay first…

      1. Peter BjΓΆrkmarker

        I beg to differ:…On the contrary as tools and frameworks evolve, it will be easier and easier. I bet for every release cycle you get 10x more productive (if you know what you are doing)I think building great games (and software in general though not to the same degree) will evolve into becoming more like art. Many artists and writers do their best work alone…

        1. falicon

          I think minecraft is an outlier…and even still, from that wikipedia page:”The developer of Minecraft, Markus Persson aka Notch, had previously worked on games such as Wurm Online and as a game developer for for over four years.”…and now Minecraft is a product of his company (ie. there is a team behind it now). So I think that falls in line with my ‘really need a team’ and ‘still gotta pay your dues’ points…

      2. SirClueless

        I think you’re overshooting what it means to make a game. If you want to make something a commercial success then you definitely have some dues to pay, but you can still learn a lot and have fun doing something as simple as making a game mod.My first real programming experience was writing a scoring system for a soccer minigame inside CounterStrike:Source. At that point in my life there is no way I could have released anything commercial, but all it took was a friend with a dedicated server to let me futz around on, and I was making minigames that my friends and I could play.Game mods are great for this: you have the engine and a whole bunch of assets available to you, which is 90% of the reason games traditionally take a whole team to make. All you need to do is program the game logic, and possibly do some level design. A server mod for CounterStrike will never be a commercial success but it’s a hell of a lot of fun and super easy to do.

        1. falicon

          All fair and solid points. Thanks!

  19. ErikSchwartz

    Were you course 6?

    1. fredwilson

      No. Course 2

  20. someone

    TRS-80 was my first computer. remember typing in long BASIC programs and saving them to tape. those were the days

    1. Techman

      Would be cool if someone owned a still working version of that machine. I’ve never used one.

      1. Ruth BT

        I believe my Father does still have his working, hooked up to an old tv!

        1. laurie kalmanson


  21. Carl Rahn Griffith

    Love it.My first programming was via the medium of the punched card, lol.Boy, I feel old!I had to drop-out of college to sate my desire to get access to proper IT equipment, such as it was back then, circa ’77 – was a revelation when I was finally allowed access to 3270/VT220 screens – and a real code editor/compilers.

    1. fredwilson

      We can bond over punch cards Carl. I spent two years posting my code into them for compiling

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith

        The irony was I kept hundreds of unused ones and in later years they were great for notes/cue cards in presentations – as the years passed by it was fascinating to see more and more people look at them and ask where I got them from, lol…

  22. LE

    I’m not a programmer but I can and have programmed things that have made me money.All started a teletype in high school hooked up to time sharing.After that I had small tty that I used to hook up to the mainframe at college to do papers on. And they were printed out at the word processing center – all letter quality. Big advantage over other students I’m guessing. I don’t believe practically anybody did the same that I can remember at that college really.I found the distributor who sold the ribbons and bought them wholesale bypassing having to suck up to the women at the center who ran the machines (the center wasn’t for students but I talked my way into being able to use the daisy wheel printers).Out of college that experience led to me thinking about starting a business (I had checks printed and a name registered) to sell computer supplies from which I forked to do something that required less capital that ended up working which I sold about 9 years later. At that business I bought a multi user (10 Wyse terminals I believe) UNIX (system V – Att made them at the time) system and wrote an estimating and job management system using simple shell tools. I knew enough to unpack it, hook it up, and get it running, so the things I did prior to that obviously were a big help. In those days there really wasn’t anyone to ask for help. I was able to bullshit my way to buy the machine wholesale from the distributor (using the checks from the supply business I never started). (Attached). At the time it might have been about 35k (no tax, after all I was a “dealer”, right?) Best of all it was so much fun to me. That’s important.The knowledge from learning UNIX is what allowed me later to get involved with the internet. I was able to rough something together myself (with my rudimentary skills and a few O’Reilly books) avoiding having to pay someone until the idea seemed to be working.So it all started with exposure in high school.One thing has remained constant over the years. I’ve found there is nothing at all that I enjoy doing so much every day. From the moment I first used a computer, I liked the experience. And I never get bored with it. It’s better than sex, taking a crap, eating, boating, skiing, taking a vacation and Porsche.

    1. fredwilson

      Better than sex? I am going to challenge that assertion.

      1. LE

        Shh. I’m proselytizing. Let’s just go with it.

  23. britt

    My sons participated in an after school program based around the MIT Scratch game system when in middle school. They are now high school sophomores and back at the club mentoring middle schoolers. We are fortunate that the CS program in the high school is strong and they have taken the learnings from Scratch and are now doing “real” programming – like solving 8 queens in c++ LOL.

    1. fredwilson


  24. Matt A. Myers

    My first experience with programming – and enjoying it – was using Qbasic to make some blips and beeps into some music. Can’t really remember how old I was. ~20 years ago though..

  25. Derrick Show

    Fred, What do you think about after-school programs that teach students (specifically high school) about entrepreneurship and real-work place skills like time management and communication?

    1. Derrick Show

      I feel HS students lack basic finance skills and training to be value-add at companies.

    2. fredwilson

      They are good. But I think they are best paired with hard skills like coding

  26. Chris Phenner

    When I came home from elementary school in the early 80s with a permission slip to stay after school to program BASIC on an Apple II in the school’s library, my parents almost fainted — they probably thought I was kidding.In the immortal words of Jane’s Addiction: ‘Chip Away!’ indeed.

  27. Techman

    I find HTML a very easy language to learn, and right now I am learning HTML5 to added to my existing HTML4 knowledge. The only real thing I have to learn now is JavaScript. For some reason that is a bit complicated to me, but I’m sure its now after I learn known variables.

    1. Qaphui

      Funny. I’m actually doing the same thing. Let’s inspire and encourage each other. πŸ˜‰

  28. Benn Gurton

    Kudos to Code Academy. Love the concept.Would be great if we could get a program together in NYC where startups host tech after school programs and mentor kids from all schools across all boroughs.

  29. Techman

    Wow that is a big memory lane Fred. Most people can’t remember that far, especially the older you get.

  30. Tereza

    I sent my daughter to coding camp for a week this summer. She loved it. Was 45 min from our house though. Ugh.I actually used a TRS80 in elementary school too. Grew up in an IBM town so there were computers around a lot. I even taught elementary school students. But somehow, weirdly, never got the memo that I was actually good at it so checked it at the door at college, which I regret.I HuffPosted this piece 2 days ago — I think combining coding and drama would be amazing. I focused on girls but actually i think would be great for boys too. http://www.huffingtonpost.c….

    1. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder

      Tereza – would love to hear what you think we could do to get more kids like your daughter into programming!

      1. Tereza

        Happy to brainstorm. I love the topic. Wanna talk? Tnemessanyi at gmail dot com.

  31. Henry Yates

    There is a great initiative in the uk called @codeclub aimed at 9-11 year olds. I am helping introduce it at my kids’ school, I think they will love it.

  32. Noah Lackstein

    I remember back when I was in elementary school, eight or nine years ago, that they offered an after school web programming course to 5th and 6th graders. They got a professor to come in from a university and teach us basic html, css, and flash, and throughout the course we’d each develop a web site for our favourite sports team or hobby or whatnot.After that introduction I became curious about how developers did more complicated things on websites, and eventually discovered and taught myself PHP and MySQL. I spent several years starting websites with friends I met online; all of us learning more about web development together.Programming is such a fundamental skill with so many applications, from maths to sciences to automating the trivial things in life that bother you. I’m really happy that Codecademy is trying to bring an experience like mine to more schools, and I really hope it catches on.

    1. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder

      Thanks, Noah!

  33. Mark Essel

    This is a great idea to support tutoring/after school programs.

  34. WI

    Don’t worry, Wisconsin has already solved this problem.

  35. James Colino

    @ccrystle:disqus Is there an opportunity to do leverage this program as a function of an accelerator? ie…in exchange for some seed financing, office space and mentorship, you have to donate some time teaching kids or adults to code (and then hopefully employing them downstream)?

  36. falicon

    I would say about 90% of the activities around my kids school (a small private school) are already set up and run by volunteers picking up the slack.This is how/why I end up helping coach basketball, track, and cross country as well as help run the cub scouts program and the chess club.Even better, we also do a ton of fundraising to help pay for all the costs of these things (and to help cover teacher salaries and things)…on top of the tuition we pay since it’s a private school.The silver lining is that I get to be super involved in my kids (and all their friends) lives and activities…and I get to directly help set the goals and focus on the things that I think are important for their growth…these are very important things to me, so I’m happy to be doing it…and we have a ton of fun throughout it all too (well except for the endless planning meetings and email/phone exchanges that have to go on in the backend for *everything*) πŸ˜‰

  37. ShanaC

    ouch – why is this happening in the first place….

  38. BD

    No they didn’t. All the state tax cuts have lead to a $117 million deficit in the upcoming budget.

  39. LE

    “Even better, we also do a ton of fundraising to help pay for all the costs of these things”I think that’s the key to many things. And not just selling cookies or begging. Nothing bothers me more than a table outside the Starbucks solicibegging. Put some effort in (parents) be creative and take advantage of people’s disposition to help out, and at least listen to a child – simply getting an audience is one of the hardest things about sales after all.Most of the things that I’ve seen kids do for fundraising has been totally lame and uncreative and run by the usual suspects in the fund raising business.

  40. Techman

    Sounds like you got your hands tied. How do you find time for

  41. LE

    “our district would fully embrace volunteerism”What I’ve noted from my exposure with public school districts is that anything that doesn’t directly result in test scores, unless championed by an interested teacher, sucks. I’m reminded of this anytime I’ve attended any school event in how poorly thought out and executed it is, even in “good” school districts.It’s really no different then why a car manufacturer doesn’t put features in that they can’t easily tie to an increase in sales. Schools operate the same way and even more so since “no child” etc.

  42. falicon

    unfort. we do a *ton* of lame, traditional, fundraisers…we have a couple of fun ones (like breakfast with Santa)…but on the whole, we do suffer a lot from what you mention too…

  43. falicon

    You always find ways to work in time for the things you love πŸ™‚