A couple of things happened last year that made me want to learn code. My son taught himself HTML in order to create his own website, and a friend of mine posted a link on Facebook to Code Academy, a team of hackers that was offering to teach me how to code in a year. I signed up. How hard could it be? It was supposed to be one 20-minute lesson per week, online, whenever I could get to it.
I bailed about three weeks into the program. Turns out coding is a little bit difficult and definitely took longer than 20 minutes a lesson. Too many times I had to go back to redo something I'd gotten wrong. I found it frustrating and slow.
I shared this with Mozilla Foundation Executive Director Mark Surman as we were getting ready for our interview about digital literacy. He said the reason it didn't work for me is because I didn't have a goal to create something specific. I had no real motivation. If I'd been learning to code so I could create my own website, as did my son, I would have kept going. Or if I'd wanted to make music, or a program, or any other digital media, I would have been working toward that end. That makes so much sense to me.
That's the kind of thinking Surman brings to his Hive Pop Ups which he's been hosting for kids. They're hands-on workshops where kids learn how to create digitally. He really believes that while kids are great consumers of digital media, the inevitable next step is that they become great creators of it. Think of books. Kids learn to read and then they learn to write. Same idea.
Here's our interview with Mark Surman. He has a lot to offer on this topic and I think we'll find a good reason to talk to him again sometime.