Earlier this week on 17 October, 40 young coders from across Europe travelled to the European Parliament in Brussels to showcase their coding and technology skills at the fifth annual EUDojo event.
Taking place during Europe Code Week, the event, run by CoderDojo – an organisation dedicated to encouraging children to learn how to code whatever their background – saw young coders share their skills with Members of the European Parliament (MEPs).
Run in collaboration with Microsoft, Liberty Global, SAP and Thomson Reuters, the EUDojo event is a testament to the importance of preparing younger generations for a future in which technology will play an exponentially larger role.
During various coding sessions, CoderDojo youths taught MEPs how to create a basic game using the visual programming language Scratch, before showing off projects that they created in their local Coder Dojo sessions.
This year’s projects included a platform to help interested volunteers find suitable volunteering opportunities, a DNA-based game, and a control-based Spirograph designer, amongst others. With children attending from Belgium, Bulgaria, Italy, Ireland, France, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain and the UK, there was certainly no shortage of ideas.
Preparing for the future
In one of the sessions, Kyriakos Koursaris, Minecraft Global Mentor at Microsoft, highlighted how Minecraft Education Edition is making coding education more accessible for schools. Importantly, he also discussed the importance of historical female role models in computer science, and the importance of supporting girls just as much as boys, encouraging their involvement in technology.
Earlier this year, Microsoft’s Girls in STEM research drew global attention to the fact that across Europe, a majority of girls lose their interest in STEM subjects by the age of 15, with a lack of role models and practical hands-on experience cited as two major reasons.
In addition to partnering with CodeDojo to support and scale workshops across Europe, Microsoft’s study was also used to create the CoderDojo Girls Initative – a guide dedicated to help Dojo organisers across Europe increase the number of girls attending their workshops.
The Initiative focuses on four key areas – developing and improving learning resources, conducting and learning from research, highlighting female role models, and developing a guide of best practices.
For more information on the free pack, please visit CoderDojo.