The new European fluency: Code!


If European youth are to innovate and create beyond other regions they must be producers, not just consumers of digital content!

Coding empowers young people and puts them a step ahead by equipping them with computational and critical thinking that are invaluable in today’s world. Almost everything around us relies on technology and will continue to do so.  Code is shaping the way we live: whether as a fashion blogger, banker, musician, social entrepreneur or journalist. We all need to speak the language of code!

As industry leaders we all agree more students need to code but what are we actually doing about it?  Today I am honored to be speaking at the “Coding: connect and scale up!” workshop convened by the European Commission  alongside Vice-President Neelie Kroes to announce that Industry have collectively committed to launch a European coding platform. Steered by the European Commission under the frame of the multi-stakeholder partnership the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs, and in firm partnership with European Schoolnet, this exciting new regional campaign will raise the profile and access to coding opportunities for European youth. The campaign has a parallel aim to drive forward early-stage computer science integration into more educational curricula across member states.  We have a real opportunity here to inspire youth not only to become the next generation of games developers in Europe but, if we get this right, to take fundamental digital skills and employ them across all professions.

With a field that moves as fast as technology we need a firm partnership approach to coding, we are therefore pleased to be working alongside partners such as Facebook, Rovio, Liberty Global, SAP and others in response to the call to action made by the European Commission under the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs.  We will work collectively to get more young Europeans into code whatever their interest!

Microsoft is well placed to share expertise and coding resources from the launch this year of Kodu Kup Europe, a new regional coding initiative that challenges and inspires 6-16 year olds to create their own digital world by learning the basic concepts of the coding language and developing problem solving techniques using computer science. The exciting element of Kodu is that teachers can use the programme right across the curriculum for example in geography to create new landscapes and worlds, in maths to develop numeracy skills and in design to create new digital animations. We have opened up this coding initiative to eight countries this year and it has been recognised as a best-practice by the European Commission’s eSkills for Jobs Campaign in Europe.  Watch out for further news as Kodu is causing a creative storm among kids!

We need to move fast to bring to life coding, dispel the stereotypes and grab the interest of kids from the very beginning. Our role as industry is to empower teachers with the training and technology resources so that they can take coding and make it engaging to the touch screen generation.


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