Girls’ Day remote: When girls learn programming at home

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Gretchen, Laura, Martje, Nea, Rosa and Sophie, all aged between 10 and 13, were our team for Girls’ Day 2021 this year. Due to the coronavirus, we were unfortunately forced to hold this year’s Girl’s Day remotely rather than in our office.

A different kind of Girl's Day

Our Girls’ Day usually looks like this: The girls come to the erminas Head Quarter in Oldenburg in the morning for breakfast and start by thinking together about what everyday problem they could solve together. Creative and helpful solutions have been developed in recent years, for example a spacer that warns you when a car gets too close to a bicycle, a lock for a school locker that can be opened with an app, or a cat flap that only lets your own cat in. Small prototypes that perfectly demonstrated the functionality were always created in just one day.

Unfortunately, we were unable to develop any prototypes together this year, as our participants from Aalen, Braunschweig, Hamburg, Northeim and Wietzen all took part from home. To this end, our developer and digital consultant Lena Sommer sent parcels home to the girls, all of which contained the small Calliope Mini single-board school computer, some instructions and, of course, nourishment.

Our developers Lena Sommer and Dr. Yvette Teiken then familiarized the girls with the online editor Open Roberta and the Calliope Mini. The small computer is ideal for getting started with programming and, thanks to its many sensors, such as position, light, sound and temperature sensors, enables a whole host of creative applications.

You don’t have to learn complicated code, but simply put together labeled programming blocks in a logical sequence using the NEPO editor, just like a construction kit.

Learning to program with the Calliope

By the end of the day, the girls had programmed a smiley, a ticker and even a mole game themselves. Now everyone is curious to see what else they can do with the Calliope Mini, because they get to keep it. Many ideas with the Calliope can be found on the Calliope website, for example.

For primary school teachers who want to try their hand at programming with their classes, there are teaching materials and class sets that make it very easy for teachers who have never had anything to do with programming themselves to get started.

We are already looking forward to next year!

The erminas team had a lot of fun and we were particularly pleased with Martje’s statement: “At first I thought six hours of video conferencing would be a horror, but then it didn’t feel so long and was great fun instead.”

We wish Gretchen, Laura, Martje, Nea, Rosa and Sophie lots of fun with their Calliope computers. And who knows, maybe we’ll meet again for a school internship at erminas?

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