Comstock's magazine 1218 - December 2018 - Page 47

Though the first iteration of PodPi was digital, founder Stephane Come says students retain the information better with hardcopies of his comic books. PHOTO: FRED GREAVES Appency. But he regularly uses those science skills — like A/B testing — to solve business problems, he says. CREATING COLLEGE PIPELINES Similarly, Navneet Grewal is out to introduce students to the idea that solutions are developed from breaking things and trying again. He’s built a virtual infrastructure that he hopes schools will use to integrate that approach into the class- room. In 2014, his 11-year-old son Ajeet came to him about a place in the cloud to experiment with writing code. So Gre- wal set up a cloud-based computer lab where Ajeet, and lat- er other children, could deploy and test software products of their own. He’s since built that into an Elk Grove-based nonprofit called Yellow Circle that’s attracted at least 25 cor- porate sponsors and 10,000 donors. Its online lab has been used by about 80,000 students in 180-plus countries to cre- ate 130,000 projects, according to Grewal’s numbers. Grewal wants to help schools transform their students into creators, not just consumers. He laments how children are handed a smartphone or tablet but not taught until after high school, if ever, how the machines really work or how to build their own content. He blames in part the expense of setting up a school computer lab, particularly because teachers have to be trained to walk students through these assignments. By offering the Yellow Circle lab, along with videos and tutorials that guide students through lessons, December 2018 | comstocksmag.com 47