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In an interview to promote Apple’s Hour of Code workshops for kids aged 6 and up, SVP of software engineering Craig Federighi has told the BBC that introducing young children to programming is so important because programming is “the next level of literacy.”

“These devices are so much a part of our lives, we have a computer in some form wherever we go, that the ability to create in that medium is as fundamental as the ability to write,” he said […]

He says programming should be seen as a “language and a way of thinking”. And while many young people have a great facility in using devices, he says being able to programme them is the “next level of literacy”.

Federighi, who first began to experiment with code when he was ten years old, said that Apple also wanted to dispel one of the myths of life as a software engineer … 

He said that the geeky image of poorly-dressed programmers in a very solitary occupation was out-dated.

People sometimes have a view of programming that is something solitary and very technical. But programming is among the most creative, expressive and social careers.

It’s an incredibly creative medium, not unlike music, and there’s a tremendous cross-over between people who programme and musicians.

Federighi rejected an OECD claim that the use of technology in education offered no discernable benefit.

There’s no question in my mind of the value in technology in fuelling young minds.

Like any other tool, if you simply throw it in the classroom, and don’t consider how best to take advantage of that tool, and you try the old ways with a new piece of technology on the desk, it’s no panacea.

But the potential of the technology when well applied is phenomenal.

Apple was keen, he said, to use its retail stores more extensively for training and education.

Photo: An Hour of Code workshop in a Shanghai Apple Store last year


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