The Tech Revolution Is Here -- The Pioneering New Company Changing How We Teach Children (and Adults) About Technology

17/11/2011 22:15 GMT | Updated 17/01/2012 10:12 GMT

Last month, Thomas Suarez stood up in front of a packed TEDx conference in Los Angeles and talked about his app development company, CarrotCorp.

A fairly typical presentation you might think. Except Suarez has yet to finish what we in the UK would call primary school.

His first app, Earth Fortune, used a picture of the earth which changed colours depending on what it predicts your day will be like, and his more successful Bustin Jieber app, a Whac-a-Mole style game involving hitting the popstar's face as many times as possible in the allotted time.

The crux of his presentation - apart from subtly telling you to go and download his apps - was the frustration he had when it came to developing software.

"A lot of kids these days like to play games, but now they want to make them," he says. "It's difficult because not many kids know where to go to find out how to make a program...and not many parents have written apps."

This conundrum represents a key pillar in the technology revolution. If someone wants their phone or tablet to do something, they no longer have to wait for a company to create it, they simply make their own - and potentially make some money while doing so. According to IDC, an IT portfolio management company, by 2014 app downloads are set to expand seven fold from 10.9 billion in 2010 to 76.9 billion a year.

But, there's a problem. The next generation of app developers are still being taught a national curriculum from the Nineties: prioritising how to use software as opposed to teaching them to make their own.

However, the first seeds of this particular part of the tech revolution are being sown at a school in Stoke Newington in east London.

Decoded, a small start-up who has already taught the likes of the Guardian and Channel 4 how to code in a day, has invited pupils at the school to create their own apps with the top three to be launched as fully fledged businesses next year.

The scheme is hoping to demonstrate a model for delivering code teaching classes into schools. "At present, there aren't any teachers or facilities that allow the teaching of code," explains Ali Blackwell, one of the founders of Decoded. "What we're trying to demonstrate is that you don't need much to be able to teach code and give kids the opportunities to build their own software," he continues.

If successful, Decoded is aiming to roll out the programme across other schools in the area with the ultimate goal of changing the national curriculum.

While Decoded's goals may be huge in their scope, it does represent a trend that recognises the potential for engaging more people in the process of software creation. Crowd sourcing this isn't.

Stanford University has created a free iPad and iPhone Application Development course through iTunes that shows people - with an understanding of UNIX and C language - how to create their own apps.

But it doesn't stop at apps. The Common Crawl Foundation has indexed five billion web pages and made the data free and available to anyone. So if you wanted to create your own personalized version of Google, now you can.

In an interview with Newsweek in 2006, Steve Jobs, although talking about design, summed up the changing approach to coding rather well:

"When you first start off trying to solve a problem, the first solutions you come up with are very complex, and most people stop there. But if you keep going, and live with the problem and peel more layers of the onion off, you can often at times arrive at some very elegant and simple solutions. Most people just don't put in the time or energy to get there."

Coding has followed a similar trajectory. As developers and those in the tech world have lived with the growing number of languages used in software design, so the number of simple, elegant, and potentially revolutionary solutions have begun to emerge, such as Decoded.

"The internet is beyond doubt the prime medium for communications and commerce. Unlike TV, it's a two-way tool. And yet how many people know how it works? Probably less than 3%," says Steve Henry, the co-founder of the Decoded course.

The answer to broad economic woes in the UK may not be to teach everyone how to make their own apps, but ensuring the workforce have all the tools they need in an uncertain future, is.