Interview with On the Rise Honoree: Grant Hosford, codeSpark
The PreK-12 Learning Group's On the Rise program recognizes early career professionals in the educational resource community who demonstrate remarkable leadership and innovation.
What do you consider your biggest career accomplishment so far? What about the biggest challenge? How has it helped shape you personally and/or professionally?
We just found out that our learn to code game, The Foos, is bigger than Scratch, one of the original kids coding platforms and a source of inspiration for The Foos. Kids are coding 22,000 projects a day on Scratch and 27,000 a day on The Foos! And we are primarily teaching kids ages four to nine while Scratch is focused on kids 10 - 14. So we are turning a new generation of young kids into creators and that is both exciting and gratifying.
Our biggest challenge has been growing a global product with no marketing budget. In just 18 months over 3.5 million kids in 172 countries have played The Foos but we’ve haven’t spent $1 on customer acquisition. I was resilient before I co-founded codeSpark with Joe Shochet but now I’m doubly so. I just don’t take no for an answer and I believe more than ever that well defined dreams can become reality if you are 100% dedicated to them.
Where do you see the future for educational resources? How do you see them changing and growing?
I believe we are headed toward massive disruption in education over the next 10 - 15 years. The first wave will be the rise of personalized and project based learning. Personalization will make grade distinctions less and less relevant and project based learning will teach core skills in a real world relevant context.
Explain why you think cultivating computer science skills in young learners is such an important facet to education.
There are three main reasons every child should learn basic computer science skills:
- Computers are tools that enhance your natural abilities in all subjects. Dancers, lawyers, athletes, musicians, politicians, etc. are all more powerful and effective with an understanding of how they can use computers in their craft.
- The study of computer science has broad based benefits related to improved reading comprehension, logical problem solving and executive functioning skills like impulse control.
- All kids should have the opportunity to be digital creators. Kids are natural creators and programming gives you the power to bring anything you can imagine to life.
For more information about the On the Rise program and a full list of 2016 On the Rise Honorees, visit us here.