EU CodeWeek Community Meeting

August 31st to September 1st 2023

The EU Code Week Community Meeting took place from August 31st to September 1st, 2023, at the Albert Borschette Congress Centre in Brussels, Belgium. This event was a significant gathering for the Code Week Community, providing a platform for members to convene and deliberate on the initiatives and priorities for Code Week 2023 and beyond. The primary goals of this meeting include fostering collaboration among community members to amplify the initiative’s impact, sharing updates on ongoing activities and forthcoming actions starting in September 2023, disseminating the achievements and milestones of the Code Week Community at both national and pan-European levels, uniting Code Week representatives at the national level to collectively reflect on their strategies, and encouraging collaborative efforts among various community groups to harness synergies for the future.

At the outset of the meeting, Ioannis Gaviotis, a member of the European Commission’s EU Code Week coordination team, shared recent statistics. According to the latest data, there have been approximately 5,338 registered CodeWeek events, with 3.5 million participants in EU Code Week during 2022. Remarkably, 25% of these events took place in non-EU countries.

The meeting then proceeded to cover key announcements, which included the availability of new online podcasts, upcoming hackathons, an online kick-off event for Code Week scheduled for October 9th, a Teach Day online event, and the presentation of Leading Teachers Awards. Attendees were also reminded of the vital importance of registering all CodeWeek-related events and reporting the number of participants in each one.

Furthermore, it was noted that during the Summer School of 2023, CodeWeek-related initiatives were executed in 19 different countries. Additionally, it was announced that the ‘Experts Go Back-to-School’ initiative was launched on August 30th. Finally, it was emphasised that a new MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) focusing on ‘Navigating Innovative Technologies Across the Curriculum’ is set to be introduced.

Irene Bellomo then conveyed to the attendees that the European Year of Skills for the current year is focused on encouraging adults to embrace upskilling and retraining as a common practice. Additionally, she mentioned that any testimonials related to the “Train the Trainers” program should be submitted to the European Year of Skills and recorded in the European Year of Skills registry.

In the afternoon, Breakout room sessions for community groups were organised for the following groups:  Ambassadors: “Pan-European activities within Code Week and other initiatives” – Leading Teachers: “Strengthening ties and sharing ideas of collaboration in Code Week activities” – Edu Coordinators: “Exchanging and sharing insights on national programmes and policies for meaningfully integrating informatics in formal education and the role of Code Week.”  During the CodeWeek Ambassadors’ meeting Tools for Ambassadors were discussed and the Ambassadors were informed to put forward any requests related to EU Code Week data analysis. Following, the Teachers’ Awards were announced and presented.

EU CodeWeek Community Meeting
The second day started with a pitching session with Code Week Partners – What can they do for the Initiative and its Community.
The meeting agreed that instilling the seeds of digital skills at a young age is paramount in today’s rapidly evolving technological landscape. It is crucial to engage children, especially girls, in activities that pique their interest and encourage them to explore the world of digital skills. The meeting underscored the importance of crafting activities with captivating titles that resonate with girls while being inclusive of males who can equally benefit from these sessions. For instance, activities like “Fashion and Coding” exemplify this approach. The meeting recognised various initiatives aimed at achieving this goal, including the European Olympiad for Girls, seminars focused on computational thinking for female educators, empowering students to become trainers themselves, and creating engaging TikTok content highlighting “Girls in ICT.” Additionally, it was exciting to learn that the next wave of CodeWeek will place a stronger emphasis on promoting “Girls in ICT”.
The meeting was informed about two tools that can be used to teach coding to children. These tools are Hedy – a very easy way to start with textual programming languages and Snap!  –  which is a broadly inviting programming language for kids and adults that’s also a platform for serious study of computer science.
Ioannis Gaviotis wrapped up the meeting by summarising the key points discussed during the gathering, underlining the significance of informing the EU CodeWeek website team about any specific enhancements for the website, particularly to data analytics.
The yearly gathering of the EU CodeWeek community convened coding enthusiasts from various parts of Europe and even beyond, fostering the exchange of knowledge, ideas, and experiences. The event was vibrant and had stimulating conversations, creative brainstorming sessions, and productive collaborations on ground-breaking projects.
Article by Loranne Avsar Zammit