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Q & A with Code Week's, Annika Östergren Pofantis

Annika Östergren Pofantis shares her thoughts on the last 5 years of Meet and Code and the role the digital skills program plays in amplifying the EU Code Week message.

#MeetandCode #EUCodeWeek #DigitalSkills

  1. What do you love about Meet and Code?
I love that Meet and Code and EU Code Week share the same goal to bring coding, creativity, problem solving, innovation in a fun and engaging way to young people in Europe and beyond.
  1. Meet and Code turns five this year and has aligned with EU Code Week from the start. What has been your highlight from the past five years?
All Code Week and Meet and Code activities are highlights per se - fun, engaging and innovative! The range is impressive, from coding a dance and dancing it to activities in Scratch to robotics and artificial intelligence (AI).

To inspire activity organizers, we have also published 18 Code Week challenges this year. One of them, “Grow your own virtual flower field”, was created by Jadga Huegle, who is a Meet and Code coach and part of the SAP Snap! team.

If you do a challenge, you can share it on social media using #CodeWeek and have the chance to win a prize. There is also a “bingo card” for those who take on more challenges! I wonder who will be the first to fill out the whole card?
  1. Why are alignments such as with Meet and Code and EU Code week so important?
EU Code Week is a chance for all schools, organizations, businesses, politicians and tech enthusiasts to put the spotlight on why computational thinking, coding and other digitals skills are important for everyone to learn. Unfortunately, there is a huge digital skills gap in the world, and we all need to work hand-in-hand to change the situation.

Every person and organization brings something different to this basket. Meet and Code, for example, provides funding for activity organizers that have great ideas but lack access to funding and this is very helpful to further extend the reach of digital skills development across the continent.

  1. Aside from empowering EU youth with digital skills, what else inspires you about Meet and Code and EU Code Week?

What inspires me is that EU Code Week is run by volunteers and that most activities are organized by teachers. Teachers are so important, and Code Week wants to help them bring innovative teaching methods to their classrooms. Therefore, we have just launched the free online EU Code Week Bootcamp which provides pre-primary, primary and secondary school teachers with practical ideas, tools and resources to help them bring coding and computational thinking to their pupils. You can start the course until 18 October.
  1. Looking ahead, what does EU Code Week hope to achieve?
The goal is to help more people to master the basics of coding and computational thinking. We also aim to continue bringing computational thinking, coding and computing to schools by empowering teachers no matter what subject they teach.

Behind Meet and Code are the founding partners SAP, Haus des Stiftens gGmbH, and TechSoup Europe with the respective country partners of the TechSoup Europe network. Annika Östergren Pofantis is the coordinator for EU Code Week. Meet and Code promotes science and technology-related events and is specially aligned to EU Code Week every year. EU Code Week runs from 9 – 24 October 2021.