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„Code your sum­mer“: Boot­camp awakens en­thu­si­asm for pro­gram­ming among school­girls

16.08.2023, Press Release :

Developing their own creative apps and solving tricky robot courses as a team: These and other exciting tasks were the focus of a group of schoolgirls at Neu-Ulm University of Applied Sciences (HNU) from August 7 to 11. The playful approach of the AppInventors boot camp focused on learning with a high fun factor and introduced the participants to programming in a relaxed atmosphere.

"Code your summer": Under this motto, eleven female students from the 9th grade were guests at HNU last week to immerse themselves in the world of programming during their summer vacation. For five days, from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day, the young participants had the opportunity to experiment, learn and develop their creativity together with other girls.

Above all, hands-on experimentation was the focus of the programming camp, which took place on campus at Wiley for the third time this year.

App development and robot programming: together as a game

After a short theoretical introduction, the students already started on Monday with creative tasks. With the help of the MIT AppInventor, they were able to easily program simple apps, including a calculator app and an animal sound app. These first attempts were followed by further exciting insights into the world of technology and IT, such as experimenting with LEGO Mindstorms robots. 

After the students had acquired basic knowledge in the areas of app development and robot programming, they were allowed to choose their own project and develop their own apps or master tricky robot courses in smaller teams. The results were presented to other students, parents and siblings at a closing event on Friday. Each student received a certificate of participation in recognition of her first steps toward programming. Finally, all participants celebrated the successful conclusion of the week together over a glass of non-alcoholic champagne.

First programming successes as a possible foundation stone for later activities in the STEM field

The programming camp deliberately focused on the fun factor - and not just during the programming itself. The supporting program with break activities and a joint lunch also offered plenty of variety and entertainment. The students also had the opportunity to explore a lab at HNU and pay a visit to the lecture halls. "I really enjoyed programming and the people were super nice!" summed up one enthusiastic participant. "I will definitely recommend the camp to others because it is a cool recreational program for the summer."

Prof. Dr. Erica Weilemann, Professor of Practical Computer Science with a special focus on didactics at HNU, led the programming camp; she was supported by research assistant Alina Geßler and a team of dedicated female students.
As part of the program run by HNU's Women's Representative Prof. Dr. Claudia Kocian-Dirr, the event, designed exclusively for girls, is intended to encourage them to give programming a try. "This is especially important because software is ubiquitous today and everyone should understand how it fundamentally works," said Prof. Dr. Erica Weilemann. "I especially want to show girls that they can program themselves. I hope that they will remember this sense of achievement for a long time and that it will encourage them to be and stay active in the STEM field."

Prof. Dr. Erica Weilemann