Making Technology Inclusive Through Papercraft and Sound

Introducing the Love to Code Platform

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The participation of women in computer education is low; undergraduate classrooms in Germany were only 10% female in 2000[1]. The picture at the primary school level is fuzzier, as students do not declare majors at that level, but evidence indicates the trend starts from a young age. Can we make computer education more gender-inclusive? Presenting technology in familiar, non-threatening contexts can lead to more balanced gender participation. For example, Chibitronics uses the context of papercraft to present electronics to beginners; the familiarity of papercraft improves the participation of women of all ages in the creation of electronics. Based on these learnings, we have devised the “Love to Code” platform, an open source hardware-to-cloud stack which combines the familiarity of paper craft with a web-based, driver-free embedded firmware development environment based on FSK audio provisioning via a headphone jack. In this talk, we will dive into the novel open source technical contributions of this platform, which includes the audio-based provisioning protocol and the unique rigid-flex design of the circuitry enabling papercraft integration, as well as the multi-threaded client OS and cloud infrastructure required to complete the picture. This combination of new technology with familiar interfaces aims to lower the barrier to computer education, thus making coding a more accessible and inclusive activity.

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