What's on your kid's plate?

What's on your kid's plate?

Categorized under: technology trends

Many years ago, Marc Andressen wrote a compelling piece in the New York Times entitled ‘Software is Eating The World’. His central thesis was that technology is a large and growing piece of the global economy. Not only did Marc put pen to paper to express his views on this emerging trend, he also co-founded a venture capital firm, Andressen Horowitz, to place bets on software enabled businesses as the drivers of growth going forward. Since being founded, A16Z has invested in some well-known and game-changing companies like Facebook, Skype, Twitter, Oculus VR & AirBnB. However, Marc Andressen still believes there is a large and growing opportunity for software enabled companies as evidence by their new $1.5B fund that was closed in June 2016 (5 years after he wrote his initial thesis).

Apple (AAPL $620B), Google (GOOG $525B), Amazon (AMZN $370B)  & Facebook (FB $369B) have a combined market capitalization that exceeds $1.8 trillion dollars. Uber which currently holds the record of the largest privately held company in history is currently valued at $70B dollars - higher than 80% of the companies in the Fortune 500. Apple was founded in 1976 (40 years old), Google was founded in 1998 (18 years old), Amazon was founded in 1994 (22 years old), Facebook was founded in 2004 (12 years old) & Uber was founded in 2009 (7 years old).

However, it is not just traditional tech companies that believe in the value of computer coding and digital acumen. GE, the 124 year old industrial giant, says that any new employee that joins the company will learn to code.

So, if software is eating the world and technology is poised to become a larger and larger portion of the global economy, what’s on your child’s plate?

Most children spend the bulk of their day at school. They are driven to school in vehicles with cutting edge technology such as global positioning systems, satellite radio, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, rear view cameras, hybrid or electric propulsion systems. While in school, my children cover subjects that include reading, writing, math, science and specials (music & art). In some districts, instructors are able to use Smartboards to deliver the instructional content. Starting in 3rd grade children at my kids school each receive iPads that they can take home with them each evening. While iPads are technology devices, there is a big difference between using technology to facilitate learning and learning how to utilize technology to build hardware & software project.
After school is over, most children participate in various after-school activities. From music lessons (enrichment) to sports (skill development), there are a multitude of activities for kids to get involved in once school is over. However, there are still very limited opportunities to learn how technology works. My kids have an opportunity to learn how to build video games, construct robots and design structures using computer-aided-design.  Unfortunately, their experience is an exception rather than the rule as there are not many computer coding & engineering design programs that are geared towards developing the 21st century skills kids need to play a leading role in the software driven global economy that Marc Andressen highlighted in his NYTimes article. 

While organizations like code.org have done a great job at building awareness of the problem, we need more parents demanding a thriving education technology ecosystem that enables kids to learn computer coding and programming while in school (60% of their day) and also continue to hone their skills in after-school programs (40% of their day) and summer camps (25% of their year).

About the Author: Omowale Casselle ([email protected]) is the Co-founder & CEO of Digital Adventures. Prior to Digital Adventures, Omowale led the development, launch & management of an interactive advertising & marketing platform, SAMPLEit (division of Outerwall, Inc.), in high traffic retail locations (Walmart, Meijer, HEB) that will help consumers trial, discover, and ultimately make more informed choices about their most important purchase decisions. Earlier in his career, Omowale was part of the new product development team that successfully brought industry-leading vehicles to market including Ford Mustang, Ford Fusion, and Ford Escape Hybrid. His passion for continuous learning and development has led to degrees from Harvard Business School (MBA), University of Michigan (MS Engineering), and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (BS Engineering).