EU Code Week celebrates World Health Day!

by Eleni Myrtsioti & Naír Carrera, EU Code Week Team.

The World Health Day celebrated each year on 7 April, is an opportunity for everyone to reflect on matters that concern our well-being. In order to raise awareness, the World Health Organization (WHO) is organizing each year several events on that day. There are many factors that we take into consideration when defining well-being today including mental health awareness, successfully overcoming diseases and coping with disabilities. On the occasion of the World Health Day 2019, EU Code Week had the chance to talk to Ángel Villanueva Martínez and Álvaro Molina Ayuso, two Spanish men with different backgrounds, but very similar educational concerns, who have designed lesson plans that revolve around topics relevant for our health through coding.

Ángel Villanueva is a Telecommunications Engineer from Barcelona, passionate about coding and electronics. Ángel always had in mind to create a project for children with visual impairment or students with vision loss that could still use educational robotics as a tool for learning, thus removing all obstacles children may find in their everyday life due to these problems. Because of this passion, he started to work with the Escornabot robot, a Galician Open educational robotics project that aims to bring robotics and programming to children. He developed a project using Arduino
and  easy to find materials that allow visually impaired students or students with vision loss to use RFID cards with Braille to in order to program the robot. This is easier and much more intuitive for children with visual impairment as they rely less on text-based programming languages.

If you are interested to know more about this project , have a look at the tutorial Ángel developed (in Spanish), which has already been used as a very valuable resource in schools. Moreover, in order to help teachers with students with similar characteristics, Ángel has developed a lesson plan to be used in schools, and is available both in English and Spanish.

Álvaro Molina is a Maths teacher at the IES Santa Rosa de Lima in Córdoba (Spain) who has been trying to use Scratch as a transversal tool for learning in different subjects such as Sciences, Maths, Languages or History. However, after seeing the potential this visual programming tool may have in the classroom, he decided to create a project in Scratch that could help students learn about a very important topic: healthy lifestyle habits and healthy food. While creating the game he combined the content of the game with the topic students are also working in Physical ducation, thus maintaining the school curriculum while also allowing students to create their own video game in Scratch. This project, which introduces the concept of Healthy Eating Plate developed by Harvard, aspires to introduce students to visual programming and the principles of healthy nutrition. Have a look at his lesson plan by following this link. 

Coding and new technologies have entered the classroom and transformed education. One of the main principles that EU Code Week is advocating is that programming empowers all students. As you have seen in the previous examples, coding can be included in all subjects and has the potential to transform students’ lives by giving them all the skills they need in order to succeed. If you are a teacher that works with visually impaired students, we encourage you to try out Ángel’s lesson plan and give a unique opportunity to your students to play and familiarize with robotics. We also invite every teacher of physical education to try out Álvaro’s lesson plan and teach students the benefits of healthy nutrition while learning programming and having fun. If you decide to try out Angel´s lesson plan or Álvaro´s, let us know via Twitter and don’t forget to add your activity to the Code Week map.

Help us bring coding to all schools in Europe!