Between 6th and 21st October events within Code Week Europe have taken place all over Europe. Within this initiative Code Week Slovenia and FabLab Network Slovenia have joined forces and designed an event Everyone can code and be creative, offering different workshops to promote digital skills and computer science, particularly programming. FabLab Network is coordinated by Faculty of electrical engineering, University of Ljubljana.
Everyone can code and be creative was a set of events that was supported by Ministry of Public Administration, Ministry of Education, Science and Sport, Association of Employers of Slovenia, and Google – the latter also financially. Three opening workshops were also supported by initiative Meet & Code that is supported by enterprise SAP.
Within this framework two major events were organised: the opening event that was held on October 6th at the Faculty of electrical engineering, UL and had smaller parallel events in various places across the country, and the closing event that was held at II. gimnazija Maribor on October 18th. Besides those two event the series of workshops has been carried out in different towns all over Slovenia (Koper, Kranj, Maribor, Krško, Celje, and Ljubljana). The workshops were organized by partners of FabLab Network (MakerLab, Mladinski tehnološki center 404, Simbioza Genesis, spreten.si, KREATORLAB, FOV UM, Klub OpenLab, Mestna knjižnica Kranj, BSC Kranj, FabLab Stikalnik Krško, RC Novo mesto, ŠC Novo mesto, UIP) and by other organizations that believe in and promote the importance of digital skills for the future (Društvo računalniški muzej, RampaLab, IJS, Slovensko društvo ljubiteljev kemije, CodeCatz, LPVO FE UL).
Altogether Everyone can code and be creative included 27 workshops that were attended by around 300 children and the young. The most pronounced target audience were the young between 12 and 18 years old, but younger and older have also attended the workshops. The contents of the workshops were focused on digital skills and computer sciences. Participants could try out “old” computers and computer games of their parents, see how sensory technology is connected to chemistry, try to use Raspberry Pi as a speaker, or how to use coding to bring Lego robots to life. The workshops also highlighted such popular themes as blockchain technology or role of women in science and technology.
Responses of the participants but also parents were very positive. Mateja, mother of a 7 year old girl stressed how important it is for the future that “children of this age get familiar with the basic principles of coding. I especially encourage girls because engineering is not only for boys but also for them.” Participants confirmed that next year they will join the workshops as well. Nejc and Jure from Kranj explained that “it was our mum that encouraged us and told us the workshop will be very interesting. She was happy that it was also in our town not only in Ljubljana. It was very interesting, next year we will come again!” Reactions like this are great stimulation for further similar events. Most importantly, it is necessary to keep in mind how important it is to organize such events also in smaller communities and not only in Ljubljana.
Digital skills are becoming basic equipment for the future. Success in organizing the workshops and high number of participants showed that awareness of importance of early learning in this field is very present also in Slovenia. The most important factor of all events were participants and the visitors that are very eagerly waiting for the next year’s events.