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Weekly News Roundup 11th December

In this week’s newsletter we learn that Apple is using its stores to hold workshops and tutorials for the Hour of Code project. We also learn that two in five parents in the UK do not know what coding means and we discuss the Nominet Trust's list of social innovations of the year. 

The “Hour of Code” project
Apple has joined the ‘Hour of Code’ project by temporarily allowing their shops to be used as classrooms to teach coding. Hour of Code is running December 7-13 and is organised by Code.org, a campaign group aiming to expand computer science education participation. The annual week-long project is backed by politicians and technology firms in approximately 180 countries. The project reportedly reached over 100 million people last year. Apple’s 468 shops across the world are taking part by hosting workshops, talks and tutorials. Mr Federighi, senior vice-president of software engineering at Apple says that programming should be seen as a ‘language and a way of thinking’. With many young people using digital devices the next level of digital literacy, Mr Federighi believes, is for them to be able to programme these devices.

In preparation for the Hour of Code week, research examined knowledge of coding among over 1,000 parents in the UK. Results found that four out of five parents do not know how to code while two out of five are not aware of what coding means. Code.org has stated that it is hoping to have 10 million people across the UK taking part in a coding initiative over the course of the week in order to increase public understanding of the subject. A spokeswoman for the campaign, Avid Larizadeh, explained that while coding is part of the UK curriculum, parents’ understanding and awareness of the subject is important to ensure children receive the support they need at home.

The Nominet Trust announces the 100 best social innovations of the year
Each year The Nominet Trust 100 celebrates 100 uses of digital technology which can be classified as social innovations, specifically those that ‘tackle a significant social challenge.’ Among the technologies that are celebrated this year is Flowy, a mobile game used by 40,000 young people and adults to manage panic attacks and anxiety. Talklife is another mobile app listed among the innovations. Talklife is a moderated peer-to-peer support network for young people. It is currently used by 200,000 young people globally and 35,000 youngsters in the UK. Through the app and website young people can share experiences and feelings in a protected network while offering support for other young people. TalklifeConnect, an extension to the app which launches in the new year, will allow young people to be instantly put in touch with therapists accredited by the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). The developers hope the combination of peer-to-peer support and advice with real time counselling will be able to help young people experiencing mental health difficulties or struggling to cope with a situation. Read more here.

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