Now in its eight edition, from the 10-25 October 2020, the EU Code Week will be a chance for millions of fellow organisers and participants to inspire the development of coding and computational thinking skills in order to explore new ideas and innovate for the future.
The EU Code Week is a grass-roots movement, launched in 2013 by the Young Advisors for the Digital Agenda Europe, that celebrates creativity, problem solving and collaboration through programming and other tech activities. The initiative is supported by the European Commission as part of its strategy for a Digital Single Market, aimed at making programming more visible, showing young people, adults and the elderly how to bring ideas to life with code, and demystifying these skills and bringing motivated people together to learn.
Indeed, as was first suggested in 2016 by the American scientist Jeannette Wing, director of the Computer Science Department of Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), computational thinking should be considered as the fourth basic skill, together with reading, writing and calculation. Just as we need written and spoken language to communicate, and basic mathematics to quantify, so computational thinking allows us to correctly and effectively process information and explain, in a detailed and understandable way, both from a human being and from a computer, how to perform a task.
Therefore, although it is obviously crucial to invest in school education and train teachers and educators so that coding and computational thinking can rapidly and effectively be integrated into curricular programmes all over Europe (which is also one of the main priorities of the Digital Education Action Plan of the EU Commission). It is no less important to make sure that any possible way of boosting computational thinking among the adult population of contemporary Europe can be experimented and, possibly, scaled up with the support of institutional actors.
In fact, increasing the number of adult citizens who can at least understand the basic principles of programming, would already have a dramatically huge impact on the speed and the socio-cultural acceptance of many ongoing processes of the digital transformation era, as well as ensuring that the development of a more ethical vision of the world as an interactive space of four-dimensional material processes which must be handled responsibly in order to make our planet a better place to live.
Initiatives should be promoted to accelerate the maturation of a "digital thought" and its fusion with "object thinking", retracing a path similar to that which led from the "Era of Printification" to the Renaissance. In other words, we should all work towards creating a democratic and sustainable civilization process of digitally dimensioning our planet, thus developing new eyes capable of seeing the whole reality of the world around us and making this available to everyone.
This is the reason why the European #CodeWeek, like other digital co-creation initiatives I presented at the start of the year in this article, represents a great opportunity for adult education organisations both to cooperate with local schools, libraries, digital competence centres and to co-design intergenerational and inclusive programmes targeting digitally low skilled adults.
There are many ways and channels for you to get involved and support the initiative:
- Visit the official website of the EU #CodeWeek and register your local activity, joining one of those already published in the events’ online map or contact your country ambassador to learn more about national based related campaigns and initiatives.
- Get in contact with your local public library and check if it is taking part in the “Generation Code: Born at the Library”, an interactive exhibition showcasing the top innovative digital exhibits from public libraries across the EU. The exhibition takes place every year at the European Parliament during EU Code Week and is organised by Public Libraries 2030.
- Join the uniteIT community and discover projects and events organised by the widest EU network on e-Inclusion, supported by the European NGO All Digital.