GENDER STI – Gender equality in science, technology and innovation bilateral and multilateral dialogues

GENDER STI is a project co-funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 872427.


    • Gender STI aims to follow up on how gender equality matters are taken into consideration at different levels of international cooperation dialogues in the area of STI between the EU Member States and Associated Countries on one side, and the selected set of 10 third countries (Canada, the U.S., Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, India, South Korea and China) on the other side.
    • The project will work to develop a strategy to co-design solutions for common challenges regarding gender inequalities in STI through a design thinking process to engage relevant stakeholders in EU and the selected third countries.
Project Scope

    • Type of action: Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Action (RIA)
    • Call: H2020-SwafS-2019-1
    • Topic: SwafS-12-2019 The gender perspective of science, technology and innovation (STI) in dialogue with third countries
    • Duration: 3 years
    • Start date: 1 July 2020

The PECC- Framework

In all of my initiatives for girls I hypnotised the following:

“Playful and creative coding activities strengthen the intrinsic motivation of female teenagers for programming.”

The “Playing, Engagement, Creativity, Creation” (PECC) framework builds the basis for all of my initiatives. The PECC framework is informed by key literature in gender studies, Computer Science education, and the learning sciences; iteratively developed through the large-scale European study (“No One Left Behind” NOLB Project, H2020 No. [645215]) and expanded from 2018-2020 to have a unique focus on gender consciousness by focusing on gender in CS classrooms.

Related Publications:

    • (accepted) B. Spieler, C. Girvan. 2020. Das PECC-Framework: Gender-Sensibilität und spielerische Programmierung in der informatischen Grundbildung. 18. Fachtagung Bildungstechnologien der GI Fachgruppe Bildungstechnologien (DELFI 2020). September 14-18, 2020.
    • Spieler, and W. Slany, 2018. Game Development-Based Learning Experience: Gender Differences in Game Design, 12th European Conference on Games Based Learning. October 4-5, 2018, Sophia Antipolis, France.
    • Spieler and W. Slany, 2018. Female Teenagers and Coding: Create Gender Sensitive and Creative Learning Environments, In Proceedings of Constructionism 2018. August, 20-25, 2018, Vilnius, Lithuania.
    • Spieler, 2018. Reinforcing Gender Equality by Analysing Female Teenagers’ Performances in Coding Activities: A Lesson Learned. In Proceedings of Conference on Gender IT 2018 /GEWINN-Konferenz 2018. May, 24-35, 2018, Heilbronn, Germany.


IT Talenteschmiede (en. “talent forge”)

funded by Styrian Government/Austria


To increase the number of IT professionals/students with new teaching concepts, workshops, open learning spaces, evaluation of activities.

Consortium: TU Graz, University of Applied Science Graz, University of Graz.


Analyse/evaluate Pocket Code and other existing visual coding tools. Create teaching concepts and material for workshops. Evaluate tools and concepts during Girls Coding week, Maker Days, robotic courses, and other CS related courses.


All activities SDC-Styria:

Related Publications:

    • (accepted) B. Spieler, F. Kemeny, K. Landerl, B. Binder, and W. Slany. 2020. The learning value of game design activities: Association between computational thinking and cognitive skills. In Proceedings of the The 15th Workshop in Primary and Secondary Computing Education (WiPSCE), October, 28 – 30, 2020, Essen, Germany (Online

    • (accepted) B. Spieler, M. Grandl, and V. Krinjic. 2020. The hAPPy-Lab: A Gender-Conscious Way To Learn Coding Basics in an Open Makerspace Setting. International Conference on Informatics in School: Situation, Evaluation, Problems, November 16-18, 2020, Tallinn, Estonia.

    • (accepted) B. Spieler and F. Kemeny, 2020 Design, Complexity, and Coding: A Framework to Evaluate Mobile Coding Projects. 13th European Conference on Games Based Learning. Sep 24 – 25, 2020. Brighton, UK.
    • Spieler, V. Krnjic, and W. Slany, 2019. Girls Create Games: Lessons Learned. 13th European Conference on Games Based Learning. October, 2-3 2019, Odense, Denmark. DOI: 10.34190/GBL.19.057

"The Magic Word

GSoC-Project 2019 (Google Summer of Code)
by Naomi Pfaff, Stefania Makrygiannaki


The tutorial game should be extremely engaging and motivating for this challenging target group of younger female teenagers between 13 to 14 years old. At the same time, it needs to teach coding on small smartphone screens. The story of the game was created during a Bachelor thesis with the help of personas formed by questionnaires and interviews at secondary schools in Graz.


Related Publications:

    • Spieler, N. Pfaff, and W. Slany, 2020. Reducing Cognitive Load through the Worked Example Effect within a Serious Game Environment. Proceedings of the 6th International Conference of the Immersive Learning Research Network (iLRN). June 21–25, 2020, San Luis Obispo, California, USA.
    • Spieler, N. Pfaff, S. Mak, and W. Slany, 2020. The Magic Word: A Coding Tutorial-Game to Engage Female Teenagers in App Design, In Proceedings of Constructionism 2020. May 26-29, 2020, Dublin, Ireland. p. 556 – 564.

MOOC: Get FIT in Computer Science

This course should attract women in particular by counteracting stereotypes and clarifying expectations. The modules are all done by women! We are talking about famous female CS scientists and use a game design approach. These pre-MOOC should make it easier for prospective students of TU Graz to start their technical studies.

Available at (in English/German)
Enroll now:


Related Publications:
    • B. Spieler, M. Grandl, M. Ebner, and W. Slany, 2020. Bridging the Gap: A Computer Science Preparatory Online Course for First Semester Students. Electronic Journal of e-Learning (EJEL). vol. 18, no 3. pp.248‑260. DOI: 10.34190/EJEL.
    • B. Spieler, M. Grandl, M. Ebner, and W. Slany, 2019. “Computer Science for all”: Concepts to Engage Teenagers and Non-CS students in Technology. 13th European Conference on Games Based Learning. October 2-3, 2019, Odense, Denmark, DOI: 10.34190/GBL.19.057

"App-Flavouring": The Luna&Cat App

An evaluation of the attractiveness of Pocket Code showed that students were motivated by its ease of use and its appealing design; however, girls rated the app less enthusiastically. To appeal to female teenagers in particular, a tailored version of the app “Luna&Cat” has been developed. This customised version stands in contrast to the “one size fits all” solution Pocket Code, which may discourage certain user groups. For apps to have a higher chance to appeal to a specific target group, it is necessary to optimise their store listing on app stores, especially as we found that app stores are the most effective way to reach teenagers. For the new version, a focus group discussion was hosted. This discussion first brought insights about our target group and suggested names and designs for the new app; and second, allowed each student to make proposals for their desired games. This is important because most girls have the feeling that the games they play are not created for them. With this customised app, our aim is to reach and build a user base of interested female teenagers who want to learn how to code.


Related Publications:

    • Spieler and W. Slany, 2019. A Customised App to Attract Female Teenagers to Coding. Conference on Gender Research (ICGR 2019). April 11-12, 2019, Rom, Italy.
    • Spieler and W. Slany, 2019. Intersectionality and Computer Science Education: Building Sensitivity and Awareness.18th Annual STS Conference Graz 2019. In STS Conference Graz- BoA 2019 Research. May 6-7, 2019, Graz, Austria


funded by FEMtech (FFG) Duration: Sep. 2018 – Aug. 2020


To make the app more appealing to our target group of girls between 12 and 15 years old, we are planning to extend the app with the option to program embroidery machines. In this way, self-made patterns and designs can be stitched on t-shirts, pants or even bags. Thus, with Pocket Code, the embroidery machines will be programmable. Patterns and different forms can be created using Pocket Codes’ visual programming language. As a result, teenagers have something they can be proud of, something they can wear, and that they can show to others.

The project will be realized together with “bits4kids” and the fashion shop “Apflbutzn”.

Related Publications:

    • (accepted) Spieler, V. Krnjic, W. Slany, K. Horneck and U. Neudorfer. 2020. Design, Code, Stitch, Wear, and Show It! Mobile Visual Pattern Design in School Contexts, Frontiers in Education (FIE). October, 21-24, 2020, Uppsala, Sweden.
    • Spieler u. V. Krnjic, 2020. Kreative Aktivitäten mit Smartphones für einen fächerintegrativen Einsatz, GDM-Jahrestagung. 09-13. März 2020, Würzburg, Deutschland.



funded by NetIdee
in association with the University of Graz / Sociology
January 2018 – February 2019
RemoteMentor in Pocket Code provided female beginners with real-time mentoring from advanced users in our community. A matchmaking system, modules for mentors, and a bidirectional screen-sharing option supported this process. Mentee and mentor found each other online and the mentee provided a view on the code or Pocket Code project. Via voice or chat channel with established systems, additional support was provided. The  first mentors were students of the TU Graz, and later experienced users of the Catrobat community, who helped female users find their footing in their first coding steps. This project also examined whether the gender of the mentors had an influence on the satisfaction and progress of the girls (to see the positive influence of female role models). For this purpose, we partnered with sociology scientists from the University of Graz focusing on gender aspects for the research part. This team conducted group discussions and interviews with female students.

Related Publications:

    • B. Spieler, L. Oates-Indruchova & W. Slany. 2020. Female Teenagers in  Computer Science Education: Understanding Stereotypes, Negative Impacts, and Positive Motivation. Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering. doi: 10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.2020028567
    • B. Spieler, J. Mikats, S. Valentin, L. Oates-Indruchova & W. Slany. 2020. “RemoteMentor” Evaluation of interactions between teenage girls, remote tutors, and coding activities in school lessons. In Proceedings of the 7th international conference on learning and collaboration technologies (LCT). 19-24 July, Online. Link

Catrobat Association

The Free Open Source Software (FOSS) non-profit project Catrobat (  was initiated in 2010 in Austria at TU Graz. The multidisciplinary team develops free educational apps for teenagers and programming novices. The aim is to introduce young people to the world of coding. With a playful approach, young people of all genders can be engaged and game development can be promoted with a focus on design and creativity. Catrobat is the official name of the project’s visual programming language as well. The project follows an  interdisciplinary approach through worldwide collaborators. More than 500 participants, most of them students of TU Graz, participated in this project. A first public version of our free app published in 2014, with 46 releases of the main coding app as of April 2018. Our app currently has more than 700,000 users in 180 countries, is natively available in 40+ languages (including several languages not directly supported by the underlying operating system), and has been developed so far by almost 1,000 volunteers from around the world.


Related Publications:

    • Lodi, D. Malchiodi, M. Monga, A. Morpurgo, and B. Spieler, 2019. Constructionist Attempts at Supporting the Learning of Computer Programming: A Survey. Olympiads in Informatics, 2019, Vol. 13, 99–121.
    • Slany, K., Luhana, M., Müller, C. Schindler, and B. Spieler, 2018. Rock Bottom, the World, the Sky: Catrobat, an Extremely Large-scale and Long-term Visual Coding Project Relying Purely on Smartphones, In Proceedings of Constructionism 2018. August 20-25, 2018, Vilnius, Lithuania.
    • Lodi, D. Malchiodi, M. Monga, A. Morpurgo, and B. Spieler, 2018. Learning to program in a constructionist way, In Proceedings of Constructionism 2018. 20 – 25 August, 2018, Vilnius, Lithuania.
    • A.M. Ayyal Awwad, C. Schindler, C., K. Kumar Luhana., Z. Ali, and B. Spieler, 2017. Improving Pocket Paint’s Usability via Material Design Compliance and Internationalization & Localization Support on Application Level. In Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services. ACM, New York, NY, USA, Article 99, 8 pages.
One of the apps of Catrobat is Pocket Code, a visual programming language environment that allows the creation of games, stories, animations, and many types of other apps directly on smartphones or tablets, thereby teaching fundamental programming skills. This app consists of a visual Integrated Development Environment (IDE) and a programming language interpreter for the visual Catrobat Programming language. The IDE automatically translates the underlying code parsed by the XML file into visual brick elements and vice versa. With the use of simple graphic blocks, users can create their own game, colorful animations, or extensive stories directly on the mobile phone without prior knowledge. Visual and block-based coding language helps novices with an easy to use interface and predefined Lego® style bricks.


2015 - 2017

January 2015 – June 2017

The European No One Left Behind (NOLB: project has been funded by the Horizon 2020 framework and involved partners from Germany, Spain, the UK, and Austria.

The vision of the NOLB project was to unlock inclusive gaming creation and to construct experiences in formal and informal learning situations from primary to secondary level, particularly for children at risk of social exclusion. The focus laid on those teenagers with special educational needs and disabilities (in UK) as well as immigrants (in Spain); the project was also used as a chance to recognize gender differences in engaging with coding activities and game jams (in Austria). The project aimed to develop a new generation of Pocket Code, which should be a more mobile media-rich programming environment for teenagers, by providing meaningful learning experiences and supporting learners to realize their full potential. This was done by transferring game mechanics, dynamics, assets, and in-game analytics from non-leisure digital games into the app and by evaluating the coding lesson.

Related Publications:

    • Gaeta, M.E. Beltrán-Jaunsaras, G. Cea, B. Spieler, A. Burton, R.I. García-Betances, D. Brown, H. Boulton, and M.T. Arrendondo, 2019. Evaluation of the Create@School Game-Based Learning–Teaching Approach. Sensors – Open Access Journal 19(15):3251, doi: 10.3390/s19153251
    • Spieler, C. Schindler, W. Slany, O. Mashinska, M.E. Beltràn, H. Boulton, and D. Brown, 2017. Evaluation of Game Templates to support Programming Activities in Schools. In Proceedings of the 11th European Conference on Games Based Learning. October 5-6, 2017, Graz, Austria. p. 600-609.
    • Spieler, C. Schindler, W. Slany, and O. Mashinska, 2017. App Creation in Schools for Different Curricula Subjects – Lessons Learned. In Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies. July 3-5, 2017, Barcelona, Spain, p. 5814-5824. DOI: 10.21125/edulearn.2017
    • Boulton, B. Spieler, C. Schindler, W. Slany, and M.E. Beltràn, 2016. The Role of Game Jams in developing Informal Learning of Computational Thinking: a Cross-European Case Study. In Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies. Barcelona, Spain. July 4-6, 2016, p. 7034-7044. DOI: 10.21125/edulearn.2016.
    • Spieler, A. Petri, C. Schindler, W. Slany, M.E. Beltràn, and H. Boulton, 2016. Pocket Code: A Mobile App for Game Jams to facilitate Classroom Learning through Game Creation. In Proceedings of the 6th Irish Conference on game-Based Learning. September 1-2, 2016, Dublin, Ireland, p. 61-79.
    • Petri, C. Schindler, W. Slany, and B. Spieler, 2016. Game Design with Pocket Code: Providing a Constructionist Environment for Girls in the School Context. In Proceedings: Constructionism in Action 2016. February 1-5, 2016, Bangkok, Thailand, p. 109-116
    • Petri, C. Schindler, W. Slany, and B. Spieler, 2015. Pocket Code Game Jams: a Constructionist Approach at Schools. In Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services Adjunct. August 24-25, 2015. Copenhagen, Denmark, p. 1207-1211.
    • E. Beltràn, Y. Ursa, A. Petri, C. Schindler, W. Slany, and B. Spieler, M.F Cabera-Umpierrez, M.T. Arredondo, and S. De Los Rios, 2015. Inclusive Gaming Creation by Design in Formal Learning Environments: ‘Girly-Girls’ User Group in No One Left Behind. In Design, User Experience, and Usability: Users and Interactions. Los Angeles, USA, Vol. 9187, p. 153-161.

The Create@School app is a more tailored version of Pocket Code for academic purposes, with predefined templates for students to start with an almost finished game and accessibility settings have been added for students with special needs. Create@School is also linked to other services such as behavioral tracking to collect events during coding, as well as the Project Management Dashboard (PMD) for project submission and assessment by teachers. Create@School is still a beta version. For teachers please conduct 

Download Link (Google Play):