EBF Girls’Day: What a great day!

On April 25, the time had finally come: the first EBF Girls’Day took place and we were just as excited as the girls! We were full of enthusiasm for the day right from the planning stage and, in collaboration with the organization codiviti, we put together a varied programme.

Nine girls in the 8th grade from schools in Bonn and Cologne made their way to our office on Thursday. They came with very different expectations – and went home with many new insights as well as their own smart bracelet that they had programmed and made themselves.

In our blog, Nadine Hermeling reports on our first Girls’Day and reveals whether we also succeeded in turning initial skepticism into enthusiasm. 🙂

What did the day look like?

The day began with an introduction session in which the girls talked among other things about their expectations. Some were accompanied by great anticipation, others by clear skepticism. It was great that they openly shared their attitudes with the group and we were curious to see if we could surprise them during the day, especially the more skeptical participants. The answer will come later. 😉

After the warm-up phase, the ice was quickly broken with the girls. In the morning, they got to know what we do at EBF, what professions we have and how our training program works.

Workshop 1: Time to program

This was followed by the first workshop – initially with some “unplugged programming games”. This allowed the group to understand what a command is, how errors occur in program code and how code can be optimized. And then the time had finally come: the microcontrollers were unpacked, examined closely and the first commands were programmed on the computer using a Blockly editor. Soon the microcontrollers were able to display texts or the temperature, play warning signals in the dark and play “rock, paper, scissors” with a random generator. Even good-smelling pizza for the lunch break had to wait because the girls were determined to keep programming. If that’s not a good sign! 🙂

After the lunch break, we were able to give the girls an insight into our work during a short tour and introduce them to various roles. The girls were impressed by the careers they had learned about: “One colleague programmed his own app when he was just 16!”

Workshop 2: The journey to a smart wearable

Then it was time for workshop part 2: the microcontrollers were now to become part of a smart bracelet. To do this, the girls grabbed old scraps of fabric, made a bracelet out of them and glued the microcontrollers to it. As soon as that was done, they were back at their laptops to continue programming. After all, they wanted to learn how to send messages to each other. They exchanged solutions among themselves and expanded their programs independently and experimentally.

How did the girls like the EBF Girls'Day?

The girls were enthusiastic and very motivated to program, tinker, exchange ideas and listen. At the end, each of them had a great result in their hands: a bracelet that had become a smart wearable with many different functions. At the closing round, some of the girls announced that they wanted to continue experimenting with the microcontroller they were allowed to take with them.

And what about the girl who was convinced at the beginning that IT was not for her? She was also impressed and surprised at how diverse and creative the field is. When she presented her results at the end, she was very proud. That was wonderful!

At home, some of the girls were so enthusiastic about the day that their parents got in touch and thanked them for the day. 🙂

What do we take away from Girls'Day?

We were able to make a difference

We are really pleased that we were able to arouse the girls’ interest and show them how diverse and creative the IT sector is. Even if some girls will certainly not go into IT, they have seen that it is worth getting to know new things – especially those areas that are unfortunately still all too often dominated by men, but urgently need diverse perspectives. Because they enrich us!

With different perspectives for more team spirit

This is exactly how we organized the Girls’Day: We set up the program across teams and benefited from many different perspectives and strengths. And that also strengthened our team spirit.

Achieving more through cooperation

At the same time, the Girls’Day showed how important cooperation is. With codiviti, we had a great partner at our side, who showed us a lot in terms of didactics, among other things. After all, unplugged programming games are not (yet) part of our everyday life. 😉

Exciting, but also reflective insights into everyday school life

It was also interesting for us to hear from the girls about the role IT plays in schools and in their everyday lives. We were surprised at how little the Girls’Day is advertised at some schools. The day is certainly only one part of a big picture, but it offers such great opportunities that we can and want to recommend it to everyone.

If a girl starts the day thinking “I’m not interested in IT” and that very girl ends up proudly talking about her programming results and reports that she is surprised at how exciting IT is – then we have achieved exactly what we hoped for: To get girls excited about IT. Another step in the right direction. 🙂

Many thanks to all the participants, to Irena from codiviti and to all our colleagues who made such a great day possible.

It certainly wasn’t our last Girls’Day!

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