“Congratulations for the Silver Code project. But why wouldn’t you participate in the Code Week with your own event!” suggested Katja Koren Ošljak, a young Slovenian programmer and Ambassador of European Code Week, reacting to Karina Sirk’ s Face Book post on Silver Code. Silver Code is one of the current Slovenian Third Age University’s Erasmus+ projects meant for educators of older people, a project co-funded by European Union. The project proposal was mainly developed by our Italian partner and the project itself has been coordinated by Znanie from Sofia.
Now, we know: coding is not only for young men as one would believe adopting the prevailing social stereotypes about gender, age and coding. It is also for girls, women, children, older people, it is for all.
Communication science and coding match together
Has Katja been programming for a long time, did she graduate from Faculty of electro - engineering or Faculty of mechanical engineering, is she an ICT graduate? None of that! Katja holds a university degree in social sciences, in communication science to be exact, which is about concepts like functions of communication, giving information and getting feedback, redundancy, a calculus of human communication whose rules are observed in successful communication but broken when communication is disturbed. Further, communication science is about examining the immediate effects of human beings on each other. By now we have been convinced that communication can be both real or virtual, though they are not the same. Further, communication can be observed on the basis of a model which considers human relationships as a system. If this is true, communication can be coded. Moreover, communication is a conditio sine qua of human life and social order. Additionally, communicating requires the presence, be real or virtual, of other people, a community of people.
Katja Koren Ošljak and women’s programming
On-line community is a community of its own kind
Katja got interested in creating and maintaining on-line communities and she spent some time studying at the University of Klagenfurt researching communication, play, learning and work in on-line communities. She really appreciated being a member of an international team, exchanging ideas and their creating together as a team or community. One can easily understand why she likes being a volunteer in the Slovenian Code Week. She likes doing things that make a difference.
Digital literacy and European Code Week
Digital literacy is not exactly knowledge and digital skills, it is also about the level of abilities needed to understand coding and start coding on one’s own
European Code Week? It all started in 2013 with building European Digital Single Market Strategy, maximizing the potential of ICT. Young assistants of the European Commission suggested coding for all would be something really fresh, new and above all needed in contemporary and future society. Alja Isaković concentrated on the creation of a platform meant to promote the children and secondary school students’ programming. Programming should be a part of the school curriculum as to help young people understand what is the coding background of their beloved social networks like Face Book, etc. It should increase their interest in coding, it should make them observant, stimulating their thinking and understanding that truth is never unique nor final.
In the United States of America, South Chorea or India the digital literacy is already high, Slovenia and Austria, have achieved more or less the same level in young people’s digital literacy. In Slovenia 53% of the population are at least basic Internet users. Across Europe the highest rates of weekly internet use are found in the Nordic countries, Luxemburg and the Netherlands, where rates are around 90% or more. Countries with the lowest rates of weekly internet use are Romania, Bulgaria, Italy.. Half of their population, or more, do not use Internet on a weekly basis, nevertheless, the number of non-Internet users, individuals who have never used Internet is going down in Europe, bust still 20% of the EU population do not use Internet. (Digital Agenda Scoreboard 2014 – Digital Inclusion and Skills, in “Digital Inclusion and Skills”, 2015).
In Slovenia there have been several initiatives important for spreading coding, among which CodeCatz. CodeCatz ended up founding Django Girls Store, a non-profit organisation that empowers and helps women to organize free, one-day programming workshops by providing tools, resources and support. Their goal is to bring more amazing women into the world of technology and increase the diversity in the tech community.They believe that. They are making technology more approachable by creating simple tools and resources designed with empathy.
During the Code Week Slovenian Third Age University and Katja Koren Ošljak will make a step further towards older people’s coding
Our Silver Code project and the results of the survey conducted with older respondents in Austria, Italy, Romania, Bulgaria, Portugal, Poland and Slovenia.
will be presented in a lecture for older students, followed by a workshop monitored by Katja Koren Ošljak on coding without computers. Additionally, this will be a public introduction to open resources in the field of coding and the Silver Code project.
Dr. Dušana Findeisen is a teacher of English and French language and literature and andragogue. On her own or jointly with her colleagues she introduced a fair number of innovations in theory and practice in the field of adult education: socio-cultural animation and education for local development, older adult education, Slovenian Third Age University, Summer School for Adult Educators. She contributed to the development of study circles in Slovenia, she co-funded the journal Andragogic Perspectives and is on its editorial board. For five years she was an Age Platform Europe expert in the field of employment and education of older people, and an external expert of the European Commission in this field. So far she has coordinated and delivered about twenty transnational projects. She is currently the Head of the Institute for Research and Development of Education at Slovenian Third Age University. She is vice-president of DANET, Danube Networkers for Europe. She publsihed 5 monographs and several hundred articles.