From Refugee to Programmer? An Action-Based Learning Approach for Teaching Coding to Refugees

ID: 53335 Type: Full Paper: Practice Based
  1. Daniela Wolf, Ferdinand Porsche FernFH, Austria
  2. Martin Ebner, Technische Universität Graz, Austria

Thursday, June 28 4:45 PM-5:15 PM Location: Jordaan 1 View on map

Presider: Hans-Peter Steinbacher, University of Applied Sciences FH Kufstein Tirol, Austria

Abstract: Teaching coding is currently gaining momentum in classrooms and informal learning spaces (coding fairs, labs, challenges, etc.) all over the world. In Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, a number of organizations offering coding courses for refugees (e.g. Refugees on Rails, HackYourFuture, CodeYourFuture) have been created as a reaction to the „refugee crisis“ in 2015-16. Such civic initiatives are aiming far beyond simply creating a new generation of programmers in response to integration and the lack of software developers in the job market. They show great potential in terms of providing rapid, innovative, and adaptive kinds of educational support. Their work is done by rapid and iterative testing of ideas in a way that traditional education institutions are not able to, possibly because of factors such as regulations, internal processes or mere traditions. To evaluate the impact of such approaches for the educational sector, and to develop courses appropriate for the needs of heterogeneous and culturally diverse groups, the authors report on two programming courses for refugees based on an empirical technique called “action research” and seek to offer practical advice for the implementation of courses for cultural diverse groups in the educational system. This study was conducted at refugees{code}, an Austrian coding school for refugees.

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