31 Jan 2018

Inveralmond Community High School: F1 in Schools STEM Challenge

In 2018, Digital Xtra Fund is supporting an exciting programme of 11 high-quality initiatives, which will introduce over 3,200 young people to high-level computing skills. We are highlighting each of these initiatives through a series of blogs; looking at how they inspire, enable and engage young people to be digitally innovative and creative, with a better understanding of the future career opportunities digital skills provide. In the third blog in this series, we are looking at Inveralmond Community High School and their use of the F1 in Schools STEM Challenge to engage young people from around the country.

The F1 in Schools STEM Challenge, with support from the Formula 1 community, is a global not-for-profit initiative that offers young people something truly unique – the opportunity to design and produce a model Formula 1 car that reaches speeds of 20 metres per second, utilising cutting edge digital manufacturing technologies and working alongside instantly recognisable global businesses.

Pupils aged 11-18 work as part of a team to design their own model Formula 1 car, utilising 3D modelling, testing and simulation packages, then operating rapid prototyping equipment to turn their digital concept into a physical model, which they will then race against teams around the country in the hope of making it to the UK finals, followed by the 2018 World Finals held in September. Underpinned by science and mathematical principles, the F1 in Schools Challenge supports the development and application of a broad range of digital skills, including digital creation and production, animation, and coding. Teams must also work together using soft skills such as project management, communication, and marketing to secure team sponsorship and manage budgets to fund their research, travel, and accommodation costs.

F1 in Schools STEM ChallengeInveralmond Community High School is currently Scotland’s only F1 in Schools Centre of Excellence. They offer a range of digital resources which any school from across Scotland can utilise free of charge in order to compete in the F1 in Schools STEM Challenge Scottish Finals, ranging from industry standard CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) machines and resources through to state of the art 3D modelling and printing facilities. Support from Digital Xtra Fund has enabled Inveralmond Community High School to purchase the final piece of their resource jigsaw, an official F1 in Schools race track and timing system. This will allow participants to not only design and build their cars on site, but also test them in an official capacity – greatly improving their chance of success on a UK and global level.

David Dodds, Principal Teacher at Inveralmond Community High School said “The support from Digital Xtra Fund has been fantastic. This new equipment will enable teams to properly test their custom cars in the build up to the Scottish Finals later this month [23 Feb]. Every student involved in the challenge relishes the opportunity to celebrate months of hard work as they race their cars down the new track on competition day in a bid to get to the UK finals in March. The procurement of this state-of-the-art system will add a new dimension to the development and application of digital skills in Scotland”.

The F1 in Schools Scottish Finals will take place at Inveralmond Community High School on 23 February when 20 teams comprised of 120 pupils will travel to Livingston from Aberdeen, Edinburgh, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, Falkirk, Fife, Glasgow, Midlothian, and West Lothian to compete in this exciting and unique extracurricular activity while enjoying STEM in action.

This hands-on programme provides a fun way for pupils to challenge themselves and gives them the opportunity to develop key skills which will form the foundation of their future, in whichever career path they choose. Digital Xtra Fund’s support of this programme will have a lasting legacy for F1 in Schools in Scotland, and is made possible thanks to the valued support of Scotland’s tech industry.

F1 in Schools STEM ChallengeAndrew Denford, Founder and Chairman, F1 in Schools said “Scotland has always produced very strong F1 in Schools teams, with ambitious, engaged students who really relish the challenge that F1 in Schools offers them. We haven’t had a World Champion team from Scotland yet, but I’m sure it is only a matter of time, particularly with Inveralmond Community High School now having the luxury of a race track and timing system for the Scottish schools to use for track testing.  We wish all the teams competing at the Scottish Finals the best of luck and we look forward to seeing the winning teams at our National Finals at Silverstone race circuit on 19th and 20th March.”

 

Thanks to our industry Partners, donations, and in-kind support, Digital Xtra Fund is able to provide annual grant awards to support projects like this, contributing to our goal of giving every young person in Scotland access to a digitally creative activity. Find out more about supporting Digital Xtra Fund and inspiring Scotland’s digital future.

 

F1 Schools STEM Challenge Scottish Event

 

Interested in seeing the F1 Schools STEM Challenge in action? Looking for an apprentice with hands-on experience to join your team? Join us at Inveralmond Community High School on 23rd February from 10:00 – 14:30.

The event will bring together over 120 students as they compete for a place at the UK Finals. If you fancy a day of digital skills, friendly competition, and fun – please sign up to attend here.

 

 

 

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24 Jan 2018

Apps for Good: Scottish Regions

In our second blog, we highlight how Digital Xtra Fund is supporting Apps for Good to reach more young people in rural Scottish areas. Apps for Good is a charity with a mission to grow a generation of problem-solvers and digital makers who are empowered to improve their world through creating technology. In 2018, Digital Xtra Fund is proud to help expand the presence of this amazing programme in Scotland, giving 225+ young people in Aberdeenshire, Perth & Kinross, Orkney Islands and Highlands the opportunity to access Apps for Good’s product development programme; enabling participants to grow their digital, entrepreneurial and enterprise skills, connect with industry professionals from the Scottish digital sector, and participate in the annual Apps for Good event in Edinburgh.

Apps for Good Tartan Badges Apps for Good train teachers via their CPD programme to deliver inspirational digital courses to their pupils. Scottish pupils aged 12-16 will work together in teams to find issues they care about, then learn how to build, market and launch digital solutions by developing mobile apps and Internet of Things (IoT) products. Previous award-winning Scottish projects include: Midge Forecast, which uses topographical data to forecast midge density, helping predict a common Scottish menace; Teen Health, providing teen-friendly info on sexual health and contraception; Keep Fit Determination, which encourages young people to exercise and earn points in order to keep playing their favourite game consoles; and Safe Step, sensor enabled mats that alert caregivers and family members of the elderly when someone has fallen or gone missing via a mobile app. A key to Apps for Good success is that it places digital training within a real-world context, enabling young people to gain relevant experience, developing the skills and confidence to build digital products to solve problems in their communities and see a clear purpose to their learning.

Apps for Good 2017 Scotland Event With the support of Digital Xtra Fund, participants will also get the opportunity to attend Apps for Good’s annual Edinburgh event, bringing together some of Scotland’s brightest young digital makers and entrepreneurs for a day of networking and skill development workshops. At the event the students will be showcasing their products, participating in workshops to further develop their skills and get feedback from some of Scotland’s top industry experts.

Heather Picov, UK Managing Director, Apps for Good said “Our partnership with Digital Xtra Fund has been fundamental in helping us grow our reach across Scotland enabling us to equip young people with the skills they need for the future. We are delighted to be working with Digital Xtra Fund once again in 2018 to spread the impact of our courses and help even more Scottish young people put their talents and skills towards creating digital products for good.”

Engaging thousands of young people each year, Apps for Good positively impacts young people’s skills development, showing overall improvement in coding, teamwork, problem solving, communication/presentation skills, product design and confidence. Digital Xtra Fund and Apps for Good also share a commitment to improving diversity in digital technologies, increasing the number of girls taking part, and providing more young people in Scotland the opportunity to take part.

Apps for Good is one of 11 high-quality initiatives Digital Xtra Fund is supporting in 2018, which will introduce over 3,200 young people to high-level computing skills. The Fund’s annual grant awards, which are supporting Apps for Good for a second year, are made possible by the valued support of Scotland’s tech industry, supplying sponsorship, donations and in-kind support that all go towards our goal of giving every young person in Scotland access to a digitally creative activity. Find out more about supporting Digital Xtra Fund and inspiring Scotland’s digital future.

 

Apps for Good Scottish Event

 

Do you work in the tech industry and want to join Apps for Good on 23rd February to celebrate Scotland’s young entrepreneurs?

This event will bring together the next generation of digital talent in Scotland as over 100 students come together under one roof at the Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh for a day of idea sharing, networking and workshops. Sign up to attend here

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16 Jan 2018

Stirling High School: Digital Learning Hub

In 2018, Digital Xtra Fund will be introducing over 3,200 young people to digital technologies by supporting 11 high-quality initiatives across Scotland. Over the next few months we will highlight each of these initiatives through a series of blogs as they inspire, enable, and engage young people to be digitally innovative and creative, and give them a better understanding of the future career opportunities digital skills provide.

Stirling High SchoolThe first initiative we will look at is Stirling High School’s (SHS) new Digital Learning Hub, which launched this week at CodeBase Stirling and will involve pupils from SHS as well as six of their feeder primary schools. The Hub will help inspire pupils from P6-S2 through extracurricular coding workshops; engaging more girls in computing science and giving young people, regardless of background or where they live, a chance to take part.

The Digital Learning Hub aims to build a sustainable ecosystem of young computing science developers. 30 pupils six Stirling primary schools will complete 10 workshops using Raspberry Pi development kits: setting up a computer; coding in Scratch and Python; using sensors, LEDs and autonomous vehicles; and getting the chance to be creative and explore their own ideas. Workshops will be run by experienced Computing teachers, supported by pupils from SHS and primary teachers, and run in partnership with CodeBase Stirling, who are providing a collaborative space for young people to learn to code in a live industry environment, and meet and learn from CodeBase’s tenants and partners.

Once the initial round of workshops are completed, the 30 participants will be recognised as Digital Champions within their own primary schools and will go on to deliver the Hub’s 10 workshops to their peers, again with the support of pupils and educators from Stirling High School. Overall, up to 210 young people will take part in the Digital Learning Hub, giving them an exciting early introduction to coding, hands-on activities, and peer-to-peer learning that will build confidence and leadership skills.

Stirling High Schools Paul Cassidy, HT Stirling High said “This project is an excellent example of how we are preparing our young people for their future through developing a range of skills including teamwork, collaboration and digital skills. Our Digital Champions in S1 and S2 are developing their leadership skills by supporting the young people from our primary schools as part of the project. The learning community is excited to be working with CodeBase Stirling and we are grateful for the support from the Digital Xtra Fund and Sharp.”

Digital Xtra Fund’s commitment to inspire future talent is backed by a range of partners who understand the importance of empowering young people to understand and create with technology, not just consume it. Support for SHS’ Digital Learning Hub has been generously provided by Sharp as part of their biennial Inspire Expo, taking place in Edinburgh from 15-17 January 2018. Sharp has been inventing one-of-a-kind products and solutions that benefit society and business for more than 100 years and their support of Digital Xtra Fund is greatly valued in benefiting Scotland’s next generation of digital makers.

In addition to supporting Digital Xtra Fund, Sharp has also kindly donated a BIG PAD interactive display to Stirling High School, giving participants an innovative way to present their ideas to their peers as well as brainstorm and collaborate on their projects. The BIG PAD will also be used in day-to-day teaching at Stirling High School, benefiting all SHS pupils with the use of Sharp’s latest technology.

Jason Cort, Director of Product Planning and Marketing, Sharp Europe said: “The future’s not only about technology, it’s also about the young people who will be using that technology. That’s why we decided to support Digital Xtra Fund this year as part of our Inspire Expo event. 2018 being Scotland’s Year of Young People makes this even more poignant.  Sharp has a portfolio of interactive solutions, including BIG PAD, that are dedicated to helping students get better education outcomes. BIG PAD will let Stirling High School’s teachers and students share information in exciting new ways and crucially, it is very easy to use, so these benefits will be accessible to everyone.”

Digital Xtra Fund’s annual grant rounds, which support SHS’ Digital Learning Hub and many other inspirational projects, are made possible by the valued support of Scotland’s tech industry, supplying sponsorship, donations and in-kind support that all go towards our goal of giving every young person in Scotland access to a digitally creative activity. Find out more about supporting Digital Xtra Fund and inspiring Scotland’s digital future.

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