European Robotics Week 2017

The European Robotics Week 2017 central event will take place in Brussels on 20-23 November. The European Robotics Week proposes more than 1000 activities in all European countries related to robotics for the general public, highlighting the growing importance of robotics in a large variety of fields of application. The aim of the Week is to inspire students in science to pursue careers in the fields of technology, engineering and mathematics. Several events will take place throughout Europe during the European Robotics Week: school visits with workshops on robotics, open laboratories, exhibitions, competitions, demonstrations of robots in public places. Companies, universities and research centers will offer interesting programs to present their robots to the general public. This is an opportunity to raise awareness of European citizens on the role and challenges of robotics in our society of today and tomorrow.

The participation in the exhibition is free of charge for the exhibitors and public. The public is made of regional representatives from all Europe, European institutions staff and representatives.

Celebrate creating with code!

The fifth edition of EU Code Week will take place from 7 to 22 October 2017. Hundreds of thousands of people will be programming all over Europe. Schools, non-for profit organizations, businesses, libraries, code clubs are all busy organising coding events and showing people and peers how to bring ideas to life with code.

Programming or coding is a set of instructions that allow computers to work. With code you can create software, apps and websites. You can also programme mobile phones, your fridge or your car. Today 90% of all jobs require digital skills, but 44% of Europeans have none or low digital skills. Despite high unemployment levels in Europe there are today around 350,000 vacancies for ICT professionals.

EU Code Week is a movement run by volunteers and supported by the European Commission that encourage people to discover coding. The idea is to make programming more visible, to show young, adults and elderly how to create with code and let people discover tech in a fun and engaging way.

Over 80 volunteer Code Week Ambassadors coordinate the initiative in their countries. Everyone can organise events to show motivated people how to create their own app, program a robot or make whatever they dream of. If you can imagine it, coding can help you create it!

Coding actions for schools and teachers

EU Code Week has a special challenge for schools. If your school thinks it can get more than 50% of the school’s students doing some hands-on coding during Code Week – it can take part in the CodeWeek4all  challenge and be awarded a “Certificate of Excellence in Coding Literacy” at the beginning of 2018.

Another EU Code Week education project in the spotlight this year, is the eTwinning online community for European schools. The community will host a group called “Coding at school”. A webinar for teachers registered on the platform was held on 5 October 2017 to kick-off the group. It focused on the potential of coding as an instrument to develop and reinforce computational thinking skills as well as other academic uses of coding at school.Teachers interested in joining the eTwinning community can register their school..

Plenty of resources and lesson plans for teachers can be found on the EU Code Week resources page, which also hosts a number of links to material for individuals who want to learn programming.

#CodeHunting game

On Saturday 14 October between 11.00 and 13.00 CET the Code Week ambassadors will launch a pan-European #CodeHunting game. This is a group game played across different locations. Participants get to certain points in a city by solving a coding challenge. Keep an eye on the EU Code Week blog to find out more..

Other coding events in libraries, code clubs, organisations and companies

Many organisations, code clubs such as CoderDojo and companies organise events during EU Code Week. As in 2016, EU Code Week has partnered with the Public Libraries 2020 – a network of 65,000 public libraries, who will organise workshops in local libraries across Europe. Inspired by the EU Code Week and led by SAP, Africa Code Week and Latin Code Week will take place from 18 to 25 October in 35 African and 9 Latin American countries involving more than 500,000 young people in coding classes. Google has sponsored 60 Code Week events in 33 countries that will introduce 33,000 young people to coding and tech. Through the Meet and Code initiative, led by the German non-for profit IT organisation, Stifter-helfen together with SAP and TechSoup Europe, 490 events taking place during Code Week and involving more than 20,000 kids received grants of up to 500 EUR in 15 countries (Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Ukraine).

European Commission supports and celebrates Code Week

The European Commission supports EU Code Week as digital skills are a cornerstone of a well-functioning Digital Single Market. The Commission supports communication activities and manages the Code Week website and invites the Code Week ambassadors to two meetings per year but does not offer any other financial support.

Mariya Gabriel Commissioner for Digital Economy and society together with Tibor Navracsics Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sports will  k[l]ick-off EU Code Week on 9 October 2017. They will participate in a hands-on coding and tech workshop coached by young people who have been enrolled in coding  training and boot camps in Belgium e.g. Le Wagon BruxellesBeCodeMolenGeekInterface3Techies LabKodo WallonieCode FeverDwengo and Digitale Wolven. During the workshop, the young coaches will show coding, robots and related hardware activities while helping the Commissioners write their first lines of code.

Useful links

EU Code Week map of #codeEU events

How to organise a #codeEU event

Free coding resources

CodeWeek4All challenge

Code Week news and blog posts

EU Code Week Twitter

EU Code Week Facebook



WHEN: October 6th 2017

WHAT: TACCLE3 Coding Conference

WHERE:  Flemish Parliament in Brussels 

If you:
• Want to learn more about ‘computational thinking’ and the link with coding,
• Listen to some motivational speakers: Matti Tedre and Pauline Maas
• Participate in hands-on workshops full of practical class room approaches
… then mark the date in your calendar now!

Thanks to the EU’s Erasmus+ programme we are able to offer this conference free of charge including lunch.

Detailed Programme

The conference language is English but some workshops will be offered in Dutch.

Register now

Taccle3 Coding is an Erasmus+ funded project coordinated by GO! The aim of the project consortium is to empower primary teachers to introduce ‘computational thinking’ and coding in their class room practice.

The project website provides a lot of materials and resources for classroom teachers.

For more information contact: and


Top Gamification tips: How games are re-wiring brains and shaping behaviours of the future

Article credit to NetImperative.

A ‘games mindset’ is permeating and influencing in areas well outside of what we understand as ‘games’. Marcus Thornley, Founder of Play Consulting explains how consumers, business leaders, and even the nature of work itself is increasingly receptive to, and driven by, the triggers, stimuli and approaches pioneered in games.

A little bit of me dies when I hear the word ‘gamification’.

Gamification just sounds a bit pseudo… like bogus Consultant-babble. In fact, during 8 years working in mobile games, I never once heard or used the word. We just made great experiences that were obsessively focused on the player. Easy!

But coming out of the industry, deconstructing what games actually are, and successfully applying a games mindset to solve real business challenges at Play, has taught me how powerful game approaches can be within business.

More than ever, I’m convinced that this games mindset is permeating and influencing in areas well outside of what we understand as ‘games’ – that consumers, business leaders, and even the nature of work itself is increasingly receptive to, and driven by, the triggers, stimuli and approaches pioneered in games.

Moreover, for reasons set out below, this pervasive trend is only going to speed up. The world is getting gamified – you better hold tight!

Gamified since birth

The word gamification may stick in the throat – it may be glibly used by people who don’t know what they’re talking about (you know who you are) – but the notion that game approaches can revolutionise engagement, motivation and behaviour is proven. At Play we are doing it, day in and day out – across healthcare, financial services, media, utilities and retail.

That doesn’t mean that a leaderboard, some XP and a couple of badges are going to make one iota’s difference on their own. I view the mechanisms of games (leaderboards, points, levels, badges, challenges, goals, teaching-by-doing, re-engagement etc) a bit like lipstick: used with a beautiful product, they augment, improve and enchant; used with a pig of a product… well, it’s like putting lipstick on a pig!.

That’s because it’s the product that matters – the slavish focus on the user/player and solving real problems for real people. Only once you understand the core of the product can you supercharge it with gamification: optimising the core loops, creating the right tone, crafting the onboarding and re-engagement… ultimately, nailing the experience!. That’s what most people who spout forth on gamification don’t understand – the lipstick salesmen don’t care about product. At Play, product’s all we care about.

Games are, over and above anything else, beautiful products – designed to be used with incredible frequency to deliver win moments, value, emotional engagement and behaviour change. Yes, there are characters, and whizzing, and spinning, and sometimes guns or candies or divine beasts, but at their core they are engagement experiences that drive billions of people to dedicate time and feel joy.

Games have grown exponentially in the last two decades – in large part due to the growth of mobile as a platform and casual as a genre. This year the games market is estimated to be worth $100bn – and growing 9% y-o-y. That’s more than cinema, more than recorded music. User growth has also been staggering. In 1995, there were an estimated 100m gamers – that figure is now 2.6bn, with the demographic balance shifting from adolescent teens to mums, dads and older players. The average player age is now 35.

More significant than games’ revenue or player base, is the societal trend that they are ushering in. Mary Meeker’s Internet Trend Report was fascinating – games were the biggest single story – and in one line she nailed what is now the reality – ‘Millennials and Generation X have been gamified since birth’.

Take that in. The next wave(s) – your employees, your customers, your future business leaders, regulators, partners and suppliers – they get games, they respond to games, they thrive on game loops and the inputs, feedback and notions of AMP (autonomy, mastery and progression). In short, they are wired to respond to the games mindset.

This breakout from games to wider product is already happening. Look at the most successful products and leaders on the planet and you’ll see games represent. Linkedin – gamified product, with Hoffman on record saying it was his childhood gaming that informs his strategic sense. Facebook – you think likes and the re-engagement loop doesn’t borrow from games? Zuckerberg has said it was his love of games that drove him to programming. The list goes on: Trip Advisor,EbayCodecademyTinderFitbit  – they’re all gamified, all habitual, all examples where the customers (and the leadership in most cases) have been gamified since birth. In Mary Meeker’s words, games are now foundational to digital success.

Looking forward

I can only see this trend accelerating. Consider VR, AI, AR – games are likely part of the first use case and the adoption medium for these technologies. Games are the context in which new technologies will be introduced, optimised and reinforced.

I see games as the perfect digital onboarding mechanism (for both leaders and users), as well as the perfect reference point for other products. I admit this can get all a bit meta – watch this Musk video on the chance we’re actually living in a simulation to really go to extremes. But, God being a game-designer or not, it’s clear that:

  • Billions of people now understand, accept and respond to game approaches – they are hard-wired to
  • A games mindset is core to many of the top performing digital products – they have become foundational for success
  • This trend is only likely to accelerate – new technology will build on this shared context

At Play, we’ve been at the vanguard of this game mindset approach for three years now – when the only people mentioning gamification were clueless consultants and Gartner’s meaningless hype-curve. It’s super validating that it’s now hit the horizons of people like Mary Meeker and is starting to be socialised outside the industry and early-adopters.

The future is one where a games mindset and personal data allow us all to self-optimise and win. It’s hopefully also one where we have a better term to describe what we do – until then, gamification (or ‘gasification’ as Apple charmingly auto-corrects to) can stay…

By Marcus Thornley


Play Consulting


About Play Consulting

Play Consulting is a digital product innovation studio based in London and Dublin. Founded in March 2014 by Marcus Thornley, it’s grown to a team of 22 people, with alumni from EA, PopCap and Mind Candy. Play’s built on the belief that game techniques can be used to create habits that help people achieve their goals. Play’s mission is to create digital products that help individuals make great decisions and build positive behaviours.  For more information about Play Consulting, visit:



8th annual OpenLivingLab Days

Giving participants insights about models, theories and technologies related to Living Labs in the field of smart cities, circular economy, IoT, health, education and societal innovation through interactive sessions, discussions &workshops.

OpenLivingLab Days 2017 (#OLLD17) is a 4-day event packed with dynamic workshops, demonstrations and showcases of the most impressive advances in the living lab field.

This year, you can follow topics on smart cities (green spaces, climate friendly solutions, transport, sustainable energy, climate-friendly solutions), circular economy, IoT, big data, health, living lab policy, education and societal innovationthrough:









Our event will once again bring the entire quadruple and multiple helix ecosystem together under one roof: businesses and scientists; academia and industry; makers, designers, researchers, public managers, city representatives, NGO activists and living lab visionaries from all over the world.



WHERE: Krakow, Poland

WHEN: 29 August – 1 September


EU Code Week is celebrating its 5th birthday on 7-22 October – get ready, join in and learn how to create with code!

Europe is skilling up in digital – the fifth edition of EU Code Week will take place 7-22 October 2017. Join the celebrations and learn how to express yourself with code. Create an app, a game, a website, make an interactive story or why not tinker with some hardware or make a robot move? Organise coding events for your parents, grandparents, friends or children and colleagues and help them understand and become active in our digital world.

EU Code Week is a grass-root movement run by volunteers who promote programming, computational thinking and related activities in their countries as Code Week Ambassadors.

The aims of this initiative are to show how people can bring ideas to life with code, to make programming more visible and bring motivated people together to learn. Anyone is welcome to organise Code Week events and all event organisers – schools, non-for profit organisations, businesses, libraries, code clubs etc. – add them to the codeweek.eumap that serves as a catalogue of coding initiatives.

Since 2013, the Code Week initiative organised more than 33000 coding events in +50 countries in and outside Europe.  In 2016, almost a million people participated. out of which 46% were girls or women.


Getting ready for Code Week:  On 30th June the Code Week Ambassadors will be meeting in Brussels for a Code Week hunting game across the city! Follow the events on Facebook and Twitter.

Get involved during Code Week:

  • Organise your own coding event and add your event to the map!


As part of the Digital Single Market, the European Commission promotes various initiatives aimed at increasing digital skills for the workforce and for citizens e.g. the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition and EU Code Week. The Commission supports communication activities and invites the Code Week ambassadors to two meetings per year. Some other partners offer other forms of support i.e Google grants money this year for innovative events targeting children aged 5-18.

Get in touch



Twitter:               @CodeWeekEU, #codeEU

Facebook:          CodeEU


The European Commission invites organisations to attract more girls and women into digital

Through the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition the European Commission invites companies and organisations to organise activities to equip more women and girls with digital skills and enthuse them to pursue ICT studies and careers.

“Technology desperately lacks gender balance on all domains – STEM education, digital jobs, decision making and tech business. Today less than one in five ICT graduates is a woman and the share is not progressing. Moreover, only 16% of the almost 8 million people working in ICT are women. Activities to improve the situation in ICT education and work could help women to succeed in a variety of domains.”

Employment in the ICT sector has been growing in the last ten years. However, only around 16% of the almost 8 million people working in ICT are women, and their share of workforce is declining. Attracting more women to technology would ensure a boost to the economy and would contribute to further economic empowerment of women, as ICT is a sector where almost no pay gap between men and women with equivalent levels of qualification and responsibility.

Thematic call for women in ICT pledges

In order to bring attention to these issues and foster new solutions, the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition is opening a thematic call for pledges on Women in ICT, which will run in parallel to the general pledging for action in the four general categories of the Coalition:

  • Digital skills for all – developing digital skills to enable all citizens to be active in our digital society
  • Digital skills for the labour force – developing digital skills for the digital economy, e.g. upskilling and reskilling workers, jobseekers; actions on career advice and guidance
  • More and better trained ICT professionals in Europe – developing high level digital skills for ICT professionals in all industry sectors
  • Digital skills in education – transforming teaching and learning of digital skills in a lifelong learning perspective, including the training of teachers

Organisations wishing to pledge could focus on organising the following activities:

  • providing digital skills training with a special focus on women and girls
  • raising awareness about the opportunities available for women in ICT
  • giving visibility to female role models that would inspire girls
  • upskilling, re-skilling women, etc.

How do I make a pledge?

Your organisation should become a member of the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition and make a pledge for action by end September 2017. Pledges could be by individual organisations or companies or collectives. Selected pledges with this thematic focus will be invited to present their initiatives at a Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition event in December 2017. The Secretariat of the Coalition will also support pledgers in facilitating further collaborations or scaling up actions.


New Features of Create@School!

A new update of the Create@School app is now available on Google Play.
In this version the new features are as follows:

  • two new templates: Adventure RPG, Race simulation (the translation for Spanish/German will be in the next release)
  • improvements for accessibility settings:
    • large font improvements (e.g. within the settings)
    • fix help link for ev3 bricks (link to mediawiki)
  • tracking:
    • new tracking event: version code (so that we know which create@school version was used)
    • automatically logout non-NOLB users
  • bug fixes:
    • bug broadcast message-dialog
    • fix tilt sensor orientation on tablets > 10″

Download our Create@School from here.


UK Pilot: Adventures in Space!

We have been working alongside pupils at Sneinton St Stephens Primary school which is one of the 4 NOLB partner schools in the UK.

Adventure game template: Science topic – Space themed

This is a year 5 (9-10 year old) class working on the half term topic: Space, focussing on science yet linking with several other areas of the curriculum. The pupils have had a previous half term’s introduction to Create@School, navigating the app, building their coding ability, and developing skills improving their confidence in independent learning.2

Working alongside the class teacher; Mr Gill, we identified objectives in the medium term plan that could be developed and enhanced through the use of Create@School in this topic:

literacy: using their composition skills developed through the term, pupils have created a written story, they adapted this into a series of sections within a storyboard to link with the separate ‘Levels’ within the adventure game template.

Computing: The ‘storyboarding’ of their written work helped complete a computing objective of creating an interactive story board.

History: the template’s layout is similar to a quiz, so questions reinforcing their knowledge of details about the space race and space ‘firsts’ can be added to the text to be answered correctly to reach the next part of the adventure.

Science: The adventure template has a space theme preprogramed within it and lends itself to this topic which describes the size, order and distances of the planets from the sun, the movement of the Moon relative to the Earth, movement of the earth and other planets relative to the sun in the solar system.

This being the pupils own work, we did not give them a series of objectives to meet, and allowed them to create their own stories – taking charge of their own learning.

Creating the game

3Through a constructivist approach, pupils actively tested their ideas within the template, developing both their programming and problem-solving skills. Collaborating with their peers to test ideas they questioned their ideas and strategies.

We found that as the lessons moved on, pupils felt more comfortable trying things out without asking for help, and the teaching staff took the role of encouraging role for the pupils to inquire and solve problems themselves.


What we achieved

By the end of the series of lessons all pupils had created a space adventure based on their literacy work. Some had uploaded their games to the PocketCode website, whilst others had shared their devices to the rest of the class.4 5

The topic has a gallery of their ICT projects with the space adventure viewed as a celebration of their achievements.

The pupils have all gained confidence in problem-solving, independent learning and programming skills and has enhanced their understanding of the topic itself and improved engagement with pupils who had struggled previously.

When they knew we were leaving, there was an audible moan. Though this raised to a cheer as we proclaimed ‘we’ll be back’!



6 7 8 9

The Planet!2: