We believe that understanding algorithms, alongside the ability of algorithmic expression, is a fundamental skill that everybody needs to have. It is also important that those who are talented for programming recognize and nurture their talent.
The same way practicing reading and writing is necessary for developing traditional literacy, some form of programing practice is necessary for developing algorithmic literacy. Programming itself doesn’t have to be a complicated activity, that is exclusive to experts and boring and tiring for everybody else. Our goal is to make programming accessible to everyone – children and their parents, students and their teachers, inquisitive technology enthusiasts and everybody else with a goal to acquire a new skill crucial for their personal and professional development.
By raising the public’s awareness about the importance of algorithmic literacy, we want to encourage different social entities to actively participate in the developing and promotion of general algorithmic literacy and, in particular, programming. This means that we want to help educational institutions in Serbia improve their contribution to the development of algorithmic literacy and that we want to unite all the individuals and companies that share our vision and want to help us increase algorithmic literacy through their resources and engagement. Also, our mission is to raise public’s awareness about the importance of algorithmic literacy and support anyone with a desire to learn programming.
The inclusion of programming into Serbian public education system has been a burning issue and a subject to public debate for a number or years. People who make the Petlja Foundation today, met each other while attending various conferences and while working on different mutual projects where we supported each other because we shared the same values and the same vision of a modern computer science education for Serbian students. With that said, we feel that our work in computer science education and popularization of algorithmic way of thinking predates the formal establishment of the Petlja foundation.
Upon its creation, different successful and well know projects and initiatives were united under the same umbrella of the Petlja Foundation. Among them, the most prominent are BubbleBee, a portal for learning and practicing programming, and Takprog, an official website of the Computer Science Competition for High School Students.
BubbleBee was developed by the employees and interns at the Microsoft Development Center in Serbia. Associates from the Mathematical Grammar School in Belgrade, the IT Grammar School in Belgrade, Mathematical Society of Serbia, Petnica Science Center and other schools participated in creating and shaping the content that BubbleBee contains today. From the early days of the BubbleBee portal, all of the educational material that can be found there is intended to be free and to be used by a wide spectrum of people because BubbleBee approaches programming in a simple and an interactive way.
Takprog was developed by the members of the Commission for the Computer Science Competition for High School Students founded by the Mathematical Society of Serbia and it stands as an infrastructural foundation for the Computer Science Competition for High School Students. Now it is serves as a mutual infrastructural background for both elementary school and high school competitions, as well as for the BubbleCup competition.
We can proudly say that, with the creation of the Petlja foundation, a few isolated initiatives were joined into a larger, stronger project with the same goal and a unified vision of the essential role that programing and algorithmic literacy have in today’s society.