Why three million Italian kids love to code

Since it was launched in 2014, Programma il Futuro has helped turn Italy into a powerhouse of computer science teaching.

“I’ve always appreciated the beauty of the place where I live,” says Rosalba Ciaffone, a science teacher in Istituto Comprensivo Joseph Stella, an elementary school of Muro Lucano, a town with breathtaking views in the less prosperous southern part of Italy. “But it’s a little far from everything and everybody.”

As Italy reopened schools after being hard-hit by COVID19, the pandemic didn’t stop Ms. Ciaffone’s students from participating in the Hour of Code in 2020 (Photo courtesy of Rosalba Ciaffone)
Enrico Nardelli with a student at a 2015 event at the Italian Parliament (Photo courtesy of Programma il Futuro)

Why coding caught on

“From a cultural viewpoint, there has always been a fascination in Italy for the United States,” Nardelli says, which helps explain why Italians found Code.org attractive.

Rosalba Ciaffone, an elementary school science teacher, overlooking her town Muro Lucano. (Photo courtesy of Rosalba Ciaffone)
NBA champ Marco Belinelli praises the progress of Programma il Futuro.

Teaching Coding

Maurizio Boscaini, a computer science teacher since 1995, has been an early adopter of the tools offered by Programma Il Futuro. “With some very basic knowledge, my students learn to code,” he says during an interview at Istituto Tecnico Industriale Guglielmo Marconi, in Verona, in northern Italy.

Maurizio Boscaini’s students’ app on recycling (Photo courtesy Code.org)

Looking ahead

Programma il Futuro has done all this with just 100,000 euros annually, Nardelli says, smiling. That money pays his team of collaborators — Nardelli does not get paid by Programma il Futuro and lives on his salary as a university professor. “Imagine what we could do with ten times more,” he says. [Editor’s note: Programma il Futuro also accepts donations. You can donate here]

Code.org® is dedicated to expanding access to computer science increasing participation by young women and students from other underrepresented groups.