In 2016, one of the co-founders and CEOs of Hatch, Peter Kuperman, and then COO, Mina Tawadrous, explained why coding is so beneficial for kids, and why Hatch has developed the best way to teach all different types of learners.
Can you tell us about a moment you knew that coding was making a difference to a kid coming to Hatch?
Mina: One of my classes, we had two students walk in - let's call them Ben and Steve. Ben was excited, but his friend Steve was clearly being dragged along and wasn't too interested in coding. Steve took a while to get started; he'd never coded before and he hadn't been too successful in his usual academic ventures. He had low self-confidence and felt he could never code as fast as Ben. Steve coded his first program at Hatch 10 times slower than Ben, but what he did next was amazing. He spent the next 30 minutes of class customizing his project and made it his own. He turned our 'hold-a-ball' project (a simple circle that follows your mouse) into a 'Lord of the Rings 'Eye of Sauron' project that has Lord Sauron's gaze follow your mouse around the screen. While his friend Ben had an impressive number of projects under his belt, Steve moved slowly, carefully personalizing each project. The more Steve coded the more I learned about him and the more he gained confidence as he felt he was given a tool to express his creativity! After a year, Ben and Steve's abilities in coding are indistinguishable and they are both amazing programmers.
What are the actual skills kids can learn at Hatch?
For life skills, we teach important tangible and intangible skills that you can use inside and outside of Hatch, including creativity, teamwork, communication and critical thinking. We offer a lot to families looking for a creative outlet for their kids either during the school year or in the summer time.
Does it make a difference (developmentally) when you learn these skills as a child? Why?
Mina: Oh, yes. Early exposure is a necessity for digital natives. Studies have shown significant benefit to language development at a young age, we think that holds true for computer languages too. The major issue we have today is parents are taught to introduce kids early to "tech" without suggesting what kind of tech. We currently have a generation of iPad users, but no child can type. We have a generation of game-players, but none of them can code their own games. Children are taught to make their own websites, but none of them learn HTML. Hatch teaches the real skills needed for the adult world at the time most suitable.
Why do you think Hatch is the next big thing?
Peter: Hatch is the next big thing because self-paced, mastery-based learning means kids are learning the exact next thing they need to learn based on their current level. Most education experiences are "we are teaching this one topic today to everyone in the class" experiences, meaning that if you are ahead, you'll be bored, and if you are behind, you'll be confused.
In terms of the actual technology, Hatch as a customized online learning environment that incorporates 5 elements that really make it stand out:
- Parent and student reports that show progress over time
- Skills tracking
- Certification levels to show proficiency for the outside world, e.g. universities and employers
- Badges that make it fun to learn
- Real time feedback when you are coding and learning computer science
Hatch was started as a way to teach kids the art and power of coding. One of the driving forces behind this program is the belief that coding is for everyone. With the way the world is advancing in technologically, it makes sense for kids to learn these skills early and also develop confidence in honing new skills.
No matter what activities your child is interested in, there are excellent programs available to them. At Hatch, your children will learn coding, and gain confidence in learning to problem solve. Learn more about camps, weekly classes and after-school programs, and sign-up today!