Rovio has launched a new website aimed at helping Europe's children learn the basic principles of coding, featuring characters from the popular Angry Birds mobile game.
The Fun Learning website has been set up as part of the annual EU Code Week, a Europe-wide initiative aimed at celebrating coding across the continent and motivating people to get involved. The 2014 Code Week is from 11-17 October.
Rovio is also involved in the European Coding Initiative, and has helped to create a game that teaches children how basic programming involves stringing together a series of commands in order to create an executable program.
In practice, the game requires users to drag and drop commands, such as move forwards or turn right, into a series in order to guide characters from the Angry Birds and Plants vs Zombies mobile games through a set of 20 puzzles.
While Rovio is not expecting all children to become future programmers, it hopes the website in tandem with the EU Code Week will encourage more children to learn how coding works at its basic level.
"Coding is a language that helps us create and be active in the digital space. Learning about coding should be part of our education, not so that we all become programmers or engineers but so that we all have an understanding of how things work," the company said.
Sanna Lukander, vice president at Rovio Fun Learning, believes that such simple approaches can help people move into "the amazing world of digital creativity".
With concerns over a digital skills gap threatening the future of Europe's technology industry, the European Commission has been pursuing initiatives to drive interest and activity in coding in a bid to get more people involved in learning digital skills.
Earlier this year, commissioners Neelie Kroes and Androulla Vassiliou jointly called for coding to be taught in all European schools to address the skills gap at a grassroots level.
The commissioners' advocacy of coding was praised in an open letter to EU ministers for education posted this week by Microsoft, SAP, Liberty Global, Facebook and Rovio, which are echoing the call to expand the teaching of coding in schools.
The letter also noted a desire to teach coding to more people than just children. "We need to go wider than the ICT industry. The road to code is open to anyone who wants to help nurture and develop Europe's digital skills offering," the letter explained.
"It is clear that Europe's future workforce will need to have their feet firmly planted in the digital arena, and anyone who can contribute to what must be a long-term effort is welcome to join our journey."
Initiatives have already been put into place to encourage coding beyond schools, with events such as National Coding Week aiming to give adults a taste for digital skills.
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