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NGOs reflect on Meet and Code Support 2022

As we wrap up the 2022 edition of Meet and Code and gear up for 2023, we’re reflecting on some of the great workshops our NPOs hosted across Europe and sharing their top tips.

#MeetandCode #DigitalSkills4All #EuropeNGOs

Have we caught your attention yet? Great. Firstly, let’s learn more about some of the NPOs and the events they hosted as part of last year’s edition.

  1. Cristina D'Apollonio, Educational activities Coordinator from Sharing Europe A.P.S. Italy: Our event titled ‘Narrating cities - Sound installation’ focused on exploring the territory of the Gavinana area in Florence to collect sounds and images to build an interactive model of the city with Makey Makey + SCRATCH. We had 12 boys and girls aged between 8 and 11 years attend.
Thanks to the funding we received from Meet and Code, we were able to purchase material used for the creation of our model, such as cards, scissors, and glues. We could also print our ‘explorer's notebooks’ and buy a new Makey Makey kit. We were also able to involve some collaborators in our activities and promote the event on our social channels.
  1. Sharon Lane - Dyspraxia DCD, Ireland: Coding Kids was a three-week-long beginners workshop aimed at young people aged between 10 and 14 years who had never tried coding before. Six boys and four girls joined on the day following great demand for attendance.
Sadly we couldn’t accommodate everyone, but inspiring the children and seeing them go on to join coding clubs in their school or after-school programmes was a big highlight for us. Here is a link to a game made by one of our beginners Donnagh Bushby: https://makecode.com/_V0wW44AsDFR5
  1. Iseult Mangan from Teen Turn, Ireland: Our event titled, ‘Is Your Fashion Universal?’ aimed to provide teen girls, particularly those from underserved areas, the opportunity to gain hands-on STEM experience so that they can visualise themselves in those kinds of careers and therefore make third level course choices accordingly.
We had 33 girls aged 14 - 16 attend who were interested in technology, universal design thinking and the roles they both play in fashion design for all. Using both pen and paper, CAD design software (Autodesk and Tinkercad both of which are free) and Sketch up, the girls were tasked to design a track suit for the Irish women's national soccer and paralympic soccer teams. Through this we were also able to educate them on how laser cutters and 3D printers are being used more and more in the fashion industry.
  1. Paula Popescu, STEAM on Wheels Manager from Tekedu, Moldova: STEAM on Wheels organized a series of sessions on Arduino, Robotics, and HTML/CSS to motivate and introduce young people to opportunities in the STEAM field. Our presentations and resources were delivered by experts in the tech sector as an interactive introduction to STEAM and how to implement their knowledge through a mini-project. We reached more than 4,000 teenagers from mainly rural areas, of which over 65% were girls. The children were highly motivated to continue to study in the STEAM domain and have a future career in this field.
  1. Sinead Colfer from Wexford, Ireland: Our event took place in Southwest Wexford Family Resource Centre over three days. Carried out by Coding Ireland, we welcomed 16 teenagers who learned to code a mini arcade game and a mini robot. The event went so well that we want to extend it to mid-level coders, not just beginners.
  1. Marek Fajfr, from Základní škola Otevřeno, Czech Republic: We organized two events for our school and other local kids in the beginning of the school year when our robotics and programming club started. The first one was called ‘Robo-football’, where children designed and made LEGO robots whereafter they played matches with a ball against other teams. The second one was called ‘Make a game’ where attendees designed easy games with SCRATCH.
We had lots of fun designing and playing the games we made during the workshop.Over 20 kids, mostly aged 6-12 participated, including siblings and friends from nearby villages, at our small-town school.
  1. Hanka Šandová, from City Library Polička, Czech Republic: We hosted two Meet and Code events, titled ‘From Smart Home to Smart City’ and ‘Rossum's Universal Robots 2022’. The first event aimed to introduce participants to the principles of smart technologies.
They were assigned a task to assemble a selected model from a kit and program it to respond based on sensor readings.  In the second event, attendees solved the same problem with different robots, where the basic task was to stop the robot in front of an obstacle and possible extension tasks.
  1. Maia Porombrica, from Asociatia Obsteasca, Moldova: We hosted three Meet and Code projects, LEGO with BLOCKLY, METODA, and HTML, which focused on water resource management, ecological awareness, and web page creation, respectively. The turnout included 26 children aged 10-11 for LEGO with BLOCKLY, over 32 children aged 12-13 for METODA, and 20 children aged 15-17 for HTML.
Team spirit and learning through discovery encouraged the students to make extra effort to study after class hours and to learn from other colleagues.
  1. Ondřej Šejtka, from Asociace TOM ČR, Czech Republic: This year we focused on more advanced Ozobot programming in the OzoBlockly environment. The children's task was to program the Ozobots to drive like a police car through the city and catch the thief.
The most interesting moment was just before the programming time was up, when the children had almost gone through the whole town and only missed a small part of the program. They were running around the classroom, from tablet to tablet, laughing. It was full of emotion. Most of all when they managed to project the whole city.

Do you think you have what it takes to host an event this year? So, do we! Here are some top tips from the above NPOs:
  • “Make sure you have enough participants to allow for active participation and exchanges. We also found that it was helpful to have a narrow age range so we could calibrate the activity based on the needs of the group. We then suggest finding a venue that allows you to host the event and network with local authorities to promote all the activities better and find participants easily. For example, we collaborated with the children’s bookshop Nani Pittori in Florence,” says Cristina.
  • Sharon adds: “It’s important to have a really good teacher who can deliver the workshop in a way that meets the needs and skills of the children. We used our funding to cover the cost of a teacher and we provided the admin support and advertising as an in-kind cost.”
  • “Working with different people every day can be quite complicated, so the most important tip I can give is to increase your communication skills and to make sure that you hear what your participants want and adapt to their needs,” points out Paula.
  • “Before applying for funding, think about what you would like to do for your workshop and how it can be done e.g., do you need facilitators or equipment, etc.? This makes it easier to start the process in a timely manner,” explains Sinead.
  • Hanka says that hosting a successful Meet and Code event requires careful planning and starting early. Secure support, secure resources, not only financial, material but most importantly, human ones.”
  • Šejtka adds: “Even if you are a beginner and think you can't program with kids, give it a try! It's fun, it's educational, and kids will learn something new.”
  • “Allow the students to become responsible for their own training process, and the teacher to achieve the best results together with the students,” highlights Maia.
  • Marek recommends, “You start with preparation before the summer holidays and be prepared at the beginning of the school year.”

We hope this will help as a first step in planning your events for the 2023 edition of Meet and Code. Remember, by improving youth’s digital skills, we can empower them to be active citizens, create change, and pursue their passions. Through Meet and Code, we are also actively supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by powering opportunity through digital inclusion.

Keep a look out across our social media pages: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and newsletters to find out when submissions for funding will be open. Learn more about Meet and Code here.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Let’s unlock digital skills for all, together.