TODAY   |  July 31, 2013

Nonprofit teaches kids to write computer code

Earning an Ivy League degree and working at Microsoft after teaching himself about computers in Tehran has inspired Hadi Partovi to give back by launching, a nonprofit that teaches kids and teens to build personal robots and more. TODAY’s Ryan Seacrest reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> new on the verge, face to face with ryan seacrest . this morning, ryan catching up with the man on a mission to prepare your kids for the real world in a more modern way .

>>> it's the catch phrase of the tech revolution.

>> there's an app for that.

>> there's an app for that.

>> there's even an app for that.

>> reporter: soon there will be more apps for that. by 2016 smartphone users with download more than six times what they currently use. that's why this man wants your children to learn to code, to write the programs behind these apps and other computer software .

>> we live in a world that is now surrounded by technology and most people have a computer in their pocket. most cars have 100 computers in them but most americans don't know how to program a computer.

>> his father gave him and his twin brother a computer for their tenth birthday but it was missing something.

>> it didn't have any programs on it. he said it isn't going to have any games or anything. if you want to play with it you had to write your own. i had to figure it out myself.

>> that lead to great success. he earned an ivy league degree, worked at microsoft and in the midst of a tech bubble started and sold a stream of companies. now he feels it's time to give back. so he launched

>> would you say there's a problem that is trying to solve.

>> most of the schools in the country don't teach computer programming and coding. the jobs outnumber students 3-1 in computer programming . we would be able to add half a trillion dollars to the u.s. economy .

>> not a single state requires high school students to take a computer science class in order to graduate. it has big names vouching for the need to increase instruction.

>> our goal is to hire the most talented engineers we can find.

>> these teens are part of the exploring computer science program. a partnership between los angeles public schools and ucla.

>> finding the basic of how you make a website and how you make a video game is interesting to me.

>> learning to build personal websites and engineer robots.

>> this is essential. it's learning how to write a resume. this is something my students need to know .

>> take drop box as an example. one coder developed the concept. he was joined by another person to program the beta version. by the time it was open for business in 2008 , there were eight engineers and one designer on board. now, just six years after the idea, 300 people work at the company. the ceo of that company.

>> learning how to help you think in an an lialytical way.

>> i even took a stab. he was promising it with was like a game of logic. i was instructing the computer to follow a pattern.

>> look here and see if you can add to the code. you have to get the parentheses and things.

>> absolutely correct? just keep moving?

>> yeah, make a move two spots up and to put the ball down, it's called put ball.

>> there you go.

>> so now run it and see what happens. all right. this may seem really easy to you. but that would be your first project in the intro to computer science class. this is the new american dream . it isn't to go west and build a log cabin . it's to make the next instagram or so on.

>> a dream he believed can be achieved if more children are taught to code. for today, ryan seacrest , beverly hills .

>>> it is astonishing how far this has come from the days, and i'll call us the old guys here when we were in college.

>> flash cards.

>> taking computer programming courses and what they have become.

>> basic.

>> i was remembering the radio shack trs 80 .

>> i took programming in college. didn't do well in programming in college.

>> it was hard.