Google doodle celebrates 50 years of learning to code

The golden jubilee of the schoolroom coding revolution is being commemorated with the organisation of a Computer Science Education Week, and Google is marking this milestone with an interactive doodle.

December 04, 2017 04:17 pm | Updated 04:33 pm IST

Modern parents often come up against traditional parenting norms while trying to intellectually stimulate their children in the digital age. Hungary's most famous export, the Rubik's cube, still enjoys steady sales, but polychromatic abacuses and other educational toys are slowly being replaced by their digital counterparts.

Children were first introduced to writing computer programs, or coding, 50 years ago, and Google has marked this milestone with an interactive doodle. The doodle featured on the home screen of Google's search engine is offering the millions of its daily users, an opportunity to experienced how pre-schoolers can be exposed to coding. The task is to help a bunny navigate a tiled walkway collecting carrots, and is akin to the playtime favourite, hopscotch.

The golden jubilee of the schoolroom coding revolution is being commemorated with the organisation of a Computer Science Education Week. The doodle is the combined effort of three teams: Google Doodle team, Google Blockly team, and researchers from MIT Scratch.

The digital revolution among children often tend to be equated with 'wasteful' video games, but Silicon Valley's apostles of tech believe that to demonise all things digital would be an unfair assessment.

Photo credit: Google


Google has set up CS First , a platform for introducing children in the 9-14 age group to programming languages. The curriculum is designed to introduce computer science concepts through themed exercises spanning art, fashion, sport, music, and game design. Each theme has eight activities and roughly ten hours of content.

Made by Apple engineers, Swift Playgrounds teaches the Swift programming language, but it’s fun like a puzzle game. Photo: Apple


Not to be left behind, Apple introduced Swift Playgrounds , an app designed to teach schoolchildren the basics of programming concepts like sequential and conditional logic through simple games designed around performing real world tasks that children can identify with.

Unlike other efforts at spreading digital literacy which are based on simpler programming languages, Swift Playground uses Swift, a programming language developed by Apple in 2014. Swift is used by professional developers who build apps for iOS.

Tech companies' push towards making the classroom the newest frontier in the coding revolution has been aided in no small part by the United States government. Former president, Barack Obama had put forward a proposal in Congress to make coding a part of the curriculum in high school, which would be aided by federal funding. is one of the most popular destinations for online programming lessons.


Other start-ups are also tapping into the eagerness of parents to make their children tech savvy. , which has raised more than $60 million from Microsoft, Facebook, Google, and Salesforce, was one of the first companies to tap into the demand for preteen programming literacy.

It has content that is tailor-made for all age groups, starting with second graders. The tutorial modules span subjects as varied as creating simple video games based on Star Wars characters, to replicating the musical chord by writing code for creating a virtual piano, and a module that enables users to 'Code the news.'

The scope and extent of machine language has changed from the time Ada Lovelace wrote the first programming language for an analytical engine, the primitive precursor to the modern day computer, and has now permeated popular culture and everyday life . The Science Education Week is aimed at spreading the gospel of tech among the youth by teaching them to read and write their own code.

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