In this exclusive Q&A, we learn more about theCoderSchool and its commitment to showing the next generation of kids how inspiring and exciting technology can be.
Franchise Chatter (FC): Tell us about your professional background? What led you to the kids’ coding school industry?
Hansel Lynn (HL): I have a Computer Science degree from Washington University in St. Louis, and had been working in high tech for about 20 years. In 2012, I decided to move on from the corporate world and bought a School of Rock franchise, which teaches kids to play music through rock band performances. After having been in a punk-pop rock cover band myself in the late 90’s Silicon Valley hey-day, I thought teaching kids rock music in a band setting sounded like an amazing experience.
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Shortly after, in 2013, I realized that instead of teaching rock music, a similar model could be used to teach coding. At the time in Silicon Valley, it was surprisingly not a common offering – in fact, no brick-and-mortar coding school existed. Combining my technical background and my newly-found children’s education background was the perfect storm that led me to found theCoderSchool.
FC: Can you tell us more about theCoderSchool? How does it stand out from other coding schools?
HL: I realized early on that when it comes to coding, kids think, learn, and engage in very different ways. Classes with curriculums or using software to teach kids worked in the short term, but these one-size-fits-all approaches didn’t seem to have long-term legs.
To keep kids engaged and wanting to continue learning, we emphasize a custom curriculum approach for each student, focusing more on a relationship with a Code Coach® as a mentor, instead of automated teaching methods. Our core program revolves around an immersion-style learning method in a small 2:1 student-teacher ratio, allowing our kids to experience and learn coding in the most effective way for each student.
FC: What programs do you offer?
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HL: Most of our students are in our core program called Code Coaching, an immersion-style teaching program with a 2:1 student-teacher ratio. For beginners, we also offer a more economical program called Code Class, which teaches kids using a traditional curriculum or software-driven approach in a larger group. For more advanced coders, we offer a “Plus” program that adds a teamwork and presentation soft-skill element, and a “Pro” program for our advanced kids looking to shore up their computer science portfolio.
FC: Why is it so important for kids to learn how to code?
HL: Learning to code is a great way to sharpen logical thinking skills. Learning how to break a complex problem into smaller pieces and how to logically structure it is an important skill for any career – computer science or otherwise.
Just as importantly, as technology becomes ever more prevalent in all walks of life, we feel it’s vital that kids grow up comfortable and confident with technology. Even in today’s fairly technological world, we meet way too many parents who are afraid of technology, who think they “could never code,” and have “no idea how that works.”
At theCoderSchool, we teach more than coding, we broaden our students’ minds with general technology discussions. How does the Internet work? What’s encryption? Is blockchain for real? We’re after a way of thinking and a confidence in technology, so that kids grow up knowing they have the power to impact the world.
FC: What are the advantages of learning how to code at a young age versus as a young adult?
HL: The most obvious advantage is that like any skill, the earlier a child is exposed, the more they learn. Coding takes practice just like any sport, music, or art. It doesn’t matter if the student is coding with Scratch, Python, or another language, the constructs used and logic required are the same. The more practice a child has in coding, the more technical foundation they’ll have to build on in the future.
Another advantage is their natural learning environment. At a young age, kids are still finding their way. An after-school coding school, with a mentor/Code Coach® to help guide them, can be a natural part of any young child’s learning routine. As they grow into young adults, finding time to learn a new skill, without a mentor or coach, without a dedicated environment of peers, can be daunting for all but the most dedicated young adults.
Finally, kids at a young age are not just learning – they’re learning how to learn. Learning how to think logically at a young age helps kids approach education differently as they go through middle/high schools, college, and beyond.
FC: What makes theCoderSchool an attractive business opportunity for potential franchisees?
HL: There’s no better feeling than seeing a kid “get it.” Watching them figure out the solution, fix a bug, or win a trophy for 1st place in our Coder Games coding contest is priceless! theCoderSchool is a financial opportunity that’s also an emotional opportunity, that also gives back to the community and helps our next generation.
FC: How can people learn more about theCoderSchool and its franchising opportunities?
HL: Head to www.thecoderschool.com/franchising, shoot us your info, and we’ll get back to you lickety-split!