I enter the elevator, take a breath and start my speech…

By Stefania Altieri (EU Code Week Leading teacher)

I enter the elevator, take a breath and start my speech…

Words do not come out. How can I convince someone to participate in Code Week in just thirty seconds?

Not long ago, I had the impression I was ready to convince anyone at any time. During the Code Week Pilot Summer School in Brussels, we did a roleplay with the objective to convince various characters to participate in Code Week. I spoke with a Minister of Education, with a web developer, with one of my colleagues reluctant to change and I felt very convincing and flexible in my speeches.

But now I only have thirty seconds and I have to talk to someone who has no idea about coding, the importance of developing computational and critical thinking or the changes the
school needs. How can I convince them?

I quickly think about how I can synthesize in a few words how much fun my students had, the relational advantages based on collaboration they gained and how my colleagues hostile to
every digital tool changed their mind.

But… in thirty seconds it’s impossible. I give up.

Taken by my reasoning, I do not realize that our elevator has stalled. Now I have more time!

My first thought seems absurd as they are all in panic. While my gaze is captured by the sign displayed near the floor numbers, I call the attention of the other people to the instructions on it.

In case of stalling:

  • Keep clam
  • If it’s too dark, light with your mobile phone
  • Press alarm button
  • Press the telephone key for 3 seconds (to call assistance)
  • Wait, breathe deeply

I read the instructions one at a time and the girl next to the alarm button executes them like a robot. The others look as us petrified.

After a few minutes, the elevator moves and reaches the ground floor. Everyone heaves a great sigh of relief, they look at me and thank me. “How did you do it?” someone asks me.  Coding
has helped me,” I answer with conviction.  “With coding? What is it?” I receive as a reply.

We go down from the elevator and they all look interested in what I have to say. Now I have plenty of time to explain how and why coding is important in our everyday lives.