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How to Engage Students and Educators at a Virtual Coding Festival

  • 18 March 2021
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How to Engage Students and Educators at a Virtual Coding Festival
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This is part of an ongoing  series where we interview leading event organizers who are hosting unique events on Hopin. Our hope is to create a library of inspiration, best practices and tips from a cross section of creators in different industries. Want to share what you’re working on? Submit your story for a chance to get featured.



This week we’re shining a spotlight on a virtual coding festival for girls and STEAM educatorsCode/Art Fest.


What you’ll learn from this interview with their events team:

  • How to keep K-12 students engaged throughout a full-day of virtual workshops.
  • How they’re using expo booths to transform their gallery of student artwork into a VR space.
  • How to manage event speakers and workshop hosts.

#nonprofit, #education, #tech, #womenintech, conference 



Tell us about Code/ Art Fest in a few lines.

We’re an annual tech conference for girls and STEAM Educators.

  • Students spend the day making interactive digital art, games, and animations while learning tools such as Scratch, Tinkercad, and Javascript.
  • Additionally, we invite STEAM educators to attend a curated Educator Track consisting of workshops geared towards bringing CS education into their classrooms.


Typically in an in-person event, we would exhibit this artwork on the walls but being that we’re in a virtual setting we decided to do this using VR technology.


What’s unique about this event?

  • We exhibit code-based artwork from students. Typically at our in-person event, we would exhibit this artwork on the walls, but this year we decided to do this using VR technology. 
  • We turned the largest booth in the expo area into a VR space that looks like an art gallery.  There you can create your own avatar, add your own artwork, and “react” by adding  emojis! View the VR space here.



How do you keep students engaged in a full-day virtual event?

  • We have polls and social media raffles planned.

  • We also scheduled all our main stage moments in between workshop blocks to give attendees a “break” from active learning to sit back and enjoy a keynote presentation, panel conversation, or student pitch competition.  


Another unique aspect of our event is a closing ceremony where we announce the winners of our annual coding competition. We’ll be translating this into a virtual awards show at the end of the festival this year. 


What advice can you offer to other event organizers?

  • What we would do differently next time is find even more ways for the students to engage through gamification strategies. 
  • We learned the importance of having as many tech rehearsals as possible with all of the speakers and workshop instructors (ideally 2-3 weeks before the event).
  • It was key to communicate with them as much as possible to reiterate scheduled times and resourcing them with everything they’ll need to be successful such as:
    • Calendar invitations

    • Slide templates 

    • Information/insight about the audience

    • Tips on keeping attendees engaged 

    • All the information they would need to help market the event (flyers, blurbs, press release etc.) 

      Check out Code/ Art Fest here.

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