Celebrating the 5th Birthday of Codeweek EU in the UK

by Yasemin Allsop, Codeweek EU Ambassador

This year’s Code Week EU kick-off event in the United Kingdom, took place at an impressive venue called Base KX in Camden, London. It all started with a surprise, and unexpected visit from Georgia Gould, head of Camden Council and Chris Shaw from the Shaw Corporation, the founder of Base KX. I was so happy to see Georgia Gould coming at that early time to open our event. Her energetic and positive attitude set the mark for the rest of the day.

 

 

We then had two very interesting talks. Jane Butler, Vice Dean for Enterprise at UCL engineering blew our minds away when she told us that she was part of the team who designed the computer that Prof. Dominic Wyse shared in his presentation. She also shared her story of how she became an engineer. This was interesting, as she explained that her school was very unsupportive of her decision to study Computer Science, however, her family was very supportive of her ideas and decisions. I think that it is important to engage parents with children’s computing activities, so that they can support and encourage their children just like Jane’s parents did.

We also had Prof. Dominic Wyse from UCL IOE, who talked about the relationship between writing, music and coding. He shared some images of Egyptian artifacts from his book ‘How Writing works’ showing how music was presented in Egyptian hieroglyphics.

Then the full speed fun began! From robotics to unplugged coding activities, we had many activity stations across Base KX.  It was clear that the children were having fun with coding and digital making as 150 children from 15 schools from different parts of the UK filled UCL BASE KX in Camden with joy and laughter! The feedback we received from both the children and the teachers was just amazing. They told us that they couldn’t wait for next year’s event. I hope that we managed to inspire some young minds and gave ideas to teachers, so that they can continue to create with code in their classrooms.

 

The lunch was also fabulous, our catering team made sure that everyone received a delicious balanced lunch. This is important, as we believe that the well-being of mind and body is always connected.

After lunch we had a Skype chat with the Payas Stem Centre in Payas, Hatay, Turkey. They have done amazing work with both Syrian refugee children and Turkish children coming from disadvantaged backgrounds. We let the children share what they have been doing for EU Code Week. You see, coding is like a common language for kids, they had no problem with communicating.

 

 

At the end of the workshops we let each school share their feelings about the day and what they liked the most. We were able to give a Microbit class set to each school that attended our event. For
this we are grateful to the Microbit Foundation.

We received support from amazing companies and organizations for this event, without which this event couldn’t have taken place. So a big thank you to; UCL Computer Science, UCL Engineering, UCL IOE, Discovery Education, Ohbot, Lego Education, Primo, Roamer, ICT in Practice, Redfern Electronics-creator of Crumble, Mama Codes, Institute of Imagination, Dare Collaborative. Thank you for being part of our exciting Codeweek EU event. Also thank you Base KX for hosting our event, we need more community spaces like this to accommodate more innovative events.

 

 

Most importantly thank you Svitlana Yarmolchuk, Dr.Elpida Makrygianni, Katty Potts (Computing and E-Safety Lead for Children’s Services Islington Council) and Simon Humphrey’s from
Computing at School. Without your fantastic work behind the scenes we wouldn’t have been able to help 100s of children to have fun with coding.

Finally, we would like to give a special thanks to Google Europe for their generous support towards the organization of our kick-off event.

EU Code Week celebration in the UK continues with an amazing competition by the DARE research centre at University College London. We are calling on everyone to make Viking games, using their popular game-authoring tool Missionmaker. This version of Missionmaker was designed for a project on the Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf, so its environments and characters are perfect for making Viking games. Use the following link to register.

 

 

Code Week is a grass roots movement with an aim to help people, young and old learn to code and have fun with it. We are very proud to be part of this exciting community movement and look forward to celebrating learning to code with our friends around Europe in the coming years!