Apple’s senior vice president of software, Craig Federighi, spoke to the BBC about why Apple is supporting the international “Hour of Code” project which looks to teach children in 180 countries how to code.
“That first moment of realising I could enter some commands in a computer and make it do something was a revelation,” he said. “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.”
“Hour of Code” is backed by Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and others, alongside US President Barack Obama and UK Prime Minister David Cameron. The project claims to have reached over 100 million children last year, according to the BBC.
“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,” Federighi said.
“It’s an incredibly creative medium, not unlike music, and there’s a tremendous cross-over between people who programme and musicians,” he continued, echoing late Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ assessment that art and computer science are one and the same.
Apple is going to open up its worldwide network of stores for the project, inviting children in to code on the Macs and iPads.
“There’s no question in my mind of the value in technology in fuelling young minds,” he said. “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.”