This episode of the Getting Smart Podcast is sponsored by Project Unicorn.


On this episode of the Getting Smart Podcast we’re talking with Jeremy Keeshin  about his new book Read Write Code: A Friendly Introduction to the World of Coding, and Why It’s the New Literacy. You can also check out this supplemental site with resources to apply your learnings from the book.

Jeremy was an innovator from an early age and formed CodeHS, an online teaching platform for helping schools teach computer science. He is an advocate for constant learning, for focusing on emerging technologies and for providing free access to high schoolers.

Let’s listen in as he talks to Tom about the many benefits of learning to code, why it might be the new literacy and whether or not students should still be thinking about college.

Jeremy took a coding class in high school, which, in 2006, was fairly unusual. What appealed to him immediately was that “everyone has to start at the beginning. Everyone has to start at square one.”

After some way finding, he formed CodeHS on May 1, 2012, right after college, and raised $4.2 million. CodeHS is a platform full of free computer science curriculum. There are over 60 courses, aligned to different state standard, and numerous professional learning opportunities to help further the breadth and depth of computer science in high school. Schools have access to a 6th-12th grade computer science curriculum for free, and much more on their pro service plan — including lesson plans, a gradebook, progress tracking and dedicated support.

Jeremy feel passionately about coding as a new language. On this podcast, he advocates for knowing coding as a means of modeling data and notes the huge academic/graduate level use case. It also adds huge value at the other end of the learner spectrum… there is a growing opportunity to learn in elementary school as CS standards continue to grow.

Coding is an industry that, in some ways, has been built to exist outside of the standard higher education sector. With regards to college, Jeremy says that “students don’t need to decide so early” and highlighted the CodeHS blog, CodingInTheWild. This blog follows how people use coding in different industries, showcasing its versatility and making the case for it being a global language.

“Learning coding closes no doors.”

Key Takeaways:

[:00] About Project Unicorn.
[:33] About today’s episode with Jeremy Keeshin
[1:13] Tom welcomes Jeremy to the podcast!
[2:02] When did Jeremy originally get hooked on coding?
[3:10] Did Jeremy always know that he wanted to focus on computer science?
[3:47] Jeremy speaks a bit about his experience studying Computer Science at Stanford University.
[5:18] How, why, and when Jeremy started his company, CodeHS.
[5:49] Jeremy explains what CodeHS is.
[6:51] About CodeHS’s business model.
[7:18] What teachers and administrators get in the premium offering that CodeHS offers.
[7:49] Why they offer free programming through CodeHS.
[9:07] Why what CodeHS offers is so invaluable to so many teachers and schools.
[10:15] For students with a deep interest in computer science, what courses should they take in high school?
[12:46] What programming languages would Jeremy recommend students focus on?
[14:14] Is coding the new literacy or is it just a vocational skill?
[17:32] What coding looks like at the elementary level and the best long-term way of teaching programming in a sustainable way for students.
[18:55] How the rise of A.I. and machine learning in every sector of the economy has changed what we should teach students in high school.
[21:57] Computer science is moving really quickly. How can we give students advice about what careers might be attractive to them and what they should be learning in high school? And how can we help teachers and counselors stay up-to-date on this knowledge?
[24:07] Should students go to college for coding with so many great resources online?
[26:17] Tom plugs Jeremy’s fantastic book, Read Write Code: A Friendly Introduction to the World of Coding and Why It’s the New Literacy.
[26:39] Who should read Jeremy’s book?
[26:56] Why secondary teachers would really benefit from reading Jeremy’s book.
[27:33] With things moving so fast, how does Jeremy keep up and continually learn?
[28:36] Tom thanks Jeremy for joining the podcast!

Mentioned in This Episode:


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This podcast episode is sponsored by Project Unicorn. If you’d like to learn more about our policies and practices regarding sponsored content, please email Mason@GettingSmart.com.

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