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Apple's Craig Federighi talks Hour of Code, dismisses findings on value of educational tech spending

Apple's senior VP of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi, promoted the company's participation in's annual Hour of Code events in a Monday interview, while downplaying suggestions that school spending on technology hasn't provided any meaningful advantages over regular education.

"These devices are so much a part of our lives, we have a computer in some form wherever we go, that the ability to create in that medium is as fundamental as the ability to write," Federighi toldthe BBC. Apple Stores will host a free hour-long programming class for kids on Dec. 10, as well as six related events running today through Dec. 12.

The executive added that he first tried coding when he was 10, and that programming should be considered the "next level of literacy." He also tried to dispel stereotypes about the field, calling it "among the most creative, expressive and social careers."

Notably, he indicated that he'd like Apple Stores to be used for training and education more frequently. The company does host regular workshops for customers and summer camps for kids, but these don't involve programming or other advanced skills.

The BBC raised the issue of complaints about school spending on technology, noting that the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development) found no direct link between billions spent on computers and other hardware and improvements in learning. Apple has long sold computers to school districts, and is currently making a strong push to get iPads into classrooms.

"There's no question in my mind of the value in technology in fueling young minds," Federighi said. "Like any other tool, if you simply throw it in the classroom, and don't consider how best to take advantage of that tool, and you try the old ways with a new piece of technology on the desk, it's no panacea. But the potential of the technology when well applied is phenomenal."