Coding is the new literacy. To thrive, young Europeans must learn to design, create and express themselves with digital technologies. The Explorist project mentors local educators - especially in the Ruhrgebiet - to teach young Europeans from 8 to 16 to code their own stories, games and animations.
Bochum, Germany, Wuppertal, Germany
First, in January 2014 23.4 % of all Europeans between 15-24 years were unemployed. Most European industry sectors shrank during the last years, but the Digital Economy in Europe continued to grow at a fast pace. This sector will increasingly employ large numbers of digitally trained Europeans. Therefore, to acquire digital skills already at an early age will be a key asset for young people. Explorist is about Europe's 21st Century Literacy: learning to code is for everyone. 2nd, digital technologies are not only familiar to today's European youth, they are part of their daily lives and thus their identities. To learn how digital spaces function by learning the fundamentals of it will not only empower young people but also teach them a new language which transcends borders and differences.
We aim to promote learning among those young people in European populations - especially in the Ruhrgebiet - not served well by current educational practices. Our goal is to make computational fluency part of what all young people learn, not just a tech-savvy minority. We work towards a future where large numbers of underrepresented youth all over Europe participate actively in the Explorist community, and from there, continue to other opportunities and programs that extend their computational fluency. An example: the teacher of a 9th grade class at a Bochum school is being mentored by the Explorist Foundation to do a coding course - using Scratch - on a specific topic of her choosing. For example the pupils can visualize dinosaurs, or code a dance & music app, or a christmas calendar.
Later this year, Explorist is piloting initial activities in schools and libraries in Wuppertal and Bochum, offering online and offline mentoring to help educators design their own interactive Explorist projects using Scratch code. It is our aim to expand to other cities nationwide in 2016, and in a final step to cities Europe-wide. Key element of our implementation strategy are local long-term partnerships: Explorist will closely collaborate with schools and libraries in NRW to create momentum. Finally, the Scratch code is an important building block of our mission: Scratch is a free programming language that makes it easy to create interactive art, stories, simulations, and games. It was designed at MIT in 2006. Today there are more than 8 million adopters. More on www.scratch.mit.edu
Funding requested from Advocate Europe
Our community of educators and students will be able to review, share and comment on other Explorist projects. We would love to receive advise from other Advocate Europe community members on how to design the best Explorist projects and on specific content for specific regions.