Digital Xtra Funded Projects

A selection of superb projects supported with grant funding from the Digital Xtra Fund

The Digital Xtra Fund has supported an innovative and diverse range of projects that include the use of wildlife cameras to help school pupils learn to code using Raspberry Pi computers, coding taught through local libraries, and a forensic investigation project.

All of these projects have demonstrated scalability, sustainability and innovation and most importantly are encouraging young people across the whole of Scotland to engage and participate in computing science related activities which build their digital skills.

Rampaging Chariots Guild and Selex ES Ltd.

Delivering a coding “module” for an existing STEM initiative for S2 pupils and above already active in over 250 Scottish schools.

Rampaging Chariots is a robotic project, sponsored by Leonardo and the IEE, and is aimed at firing up the interest in young people in technology and engineering by constructing radio controlled sporting robots from a comprehensive kit. The project has been active for over 10 years and well embedded in school Young Engineers Clubs and youth organisations

Students construct their robot in teams, test it, fit their rampaging chariot with a programmable raspberry Pi and other possible modules such as a robot arm, soil sampling and chemical analysis, and then control it using radio control.

This project focuses on teaching coding in a real-time environment

Scottish Libraries & Information Council (SLIC)

This project involves the training of public library employees to deliver Code Clubs to young people aged between 9 & 11 years across 28 of the 32 Local Authority Library Services, providing the opportunity for a minimum of 400 young people to engage in a 12-week programme of coding sessions.

A SLIC Project Officer working with the Code Club Scotland coordinator has developed a training programme for library employees that is specific to the existing Code Club model and materials. Each participating Library has nominate up to 5 staff to deliver coding sessions to young people.

Investing in developing the skillset of library employees ensures the ongoing continuity of the Code Clubs as there is always a supply trained leaders, rather than relying on volunteers, which is particularly important out with the central belt where securing and retaining volunteers is challenging.

Forfar Academy Angus Young Engineers

Building on a successful pilot with Strathmore Primary School, Forfar Academy has extended its project to work with a cluster of 8 Primary Schools to deliver after school digital skills clubs involved initially in First Lego League® (FLL) with delivery at a central training hub at the Academy

FLL is a mechatronic based coding project. Students work together to explore a topic and to design, build and programme an autonomous Lego® robot to solve a series of missions. Teams participate in the challenge by programming an autonomous robot to score points on a  themed playing field (the game) and developing a solution to a problem they have identified (the project), guided by FLL core values.

Teams of P7 & SI pupils each work with an adult coach on a 12-16 week challenge. Over 100 children are engaged in the after-school activity and are working towards bronze CREST awards and digital skills open badges

Forfar Academy has ambitious plans to extend the project to more schools in the region.

The Princes Trust and Artronix

The “Achieve Digital” project supports 180 young people aged 13-16 to gain vital digital skills whilst encouraging them to consider a career in the IT industry.

Developed by the Princes Trust and Artronix, a series of digital industry skills activity days for “at risk” pupils aged 13 – 16 years who for a number of reasons cannot ordinarily access this type of activity.

The key elements of the project are: Digital Skills Days, Digital Work Experience with 25% of young people being placed into digital work experience and progression to positive digital outcomes for example taking computing science subjects in further education.

Over the Digital Skills day young people experiment and learn to build electronic Neuro Muscle, utilise electronic signal detecting DIT kit, and engage in coding and basic game design.

Apps for Good

The highly successful and valued Apps for Good programme involves young people aged 10 to 16 years in the design, build, market and launch of mobile, web and social apps to solve problems that young people care about in their communities.

Apps for Good are now extending their programme across the whole of Scotland, training teachers to deliver coding in school, and delivering Apps for Good Mini Couse outside of the school environment, reaching over 2,500 young people.

The programme, recently revised, now also includes an introduction to the “Internet of Things” course pilot and careers advice. Additional Scotland events are undertaken which feature a marketplace environment for young people to showcase their projects and entrepreneurial talent and be able to access a broader pipeline of opportunities to further their biz and tech skills

Edinburgh International Science Festival

Each year the Edinburgh International Science Festival delivers one of Europe’s largest science festivals, a primary school education programme across Scotland and a variety of international programming activities and projects.

One activity is the delivery of Lego Mindstorm workshops and digital skills for P4-S3 pupils across Scotland. At these events pupils code robots to follow commands and navigate a course, learning programming and then problem-solving to make the robot complete a series of challenges. One fun aspect of the activity is the rescue mission to retrieve a lost robot on Mars using sensors and coding robots to detect objects, distance and light.

The Festival has also extended its existing travelling Careers Hive to include hands-on digital skills activities for 3000 S1-S3 pupils from 35 schools in North Ayrshire, Inverclyde, Midlothian, Stirling, West Lothian, Borders, Edinburgh, East Lothian, Fife and Falkirk.

Ian Findlay Design/Troqueer Primary School

One of the smaller, but no less important, projects supported by Digital Xtra Fund is the online/offline coding activity for P4 – P7 pupils developed at Troqueer Primary School in Dumfries & Galloway by Ian Findlay Design.

This after school club offers one hour coding sessions using Hour of Code to pupils wishing to develop their skills in this area.  The success of the project, which saw double demand for places and a high completion success rate, has led to a model which has the potential to be extended to other schools in Dumfries & Galloway.

Inverness College UHI

This project also builds on the successful Lego Mindstorms® programme and involves the training by Inverness College lecturers of primary teachers and school helpers to enable them to teach computing science skills across the Highlands & Islands region.

Lego Mindstorms® are distributed to participating schools and delivered to pupils by their primary teachers with support from Inverness College UHI. Pupil sessions are delivered in schools hours with teachers encouraged and supported to operate either pre-school morning clubs, lunchtime clubs or after school depending on individual schools needs. Participating pupils have the opportunity to take part in the newly created Inverness College UHI Lego League.

Stakeholders in this project include Cap Gemini, ErPass, Dynamic Edge, FLL and the Science Skills Academy.

Scottish Council for Development & Industry and BT

This innovative project involves training teachers, particularly those who may have lacked confidence to teach computing subjects, to deliver the Tweety Pi programme – a coding and outdoor learning experience which records activity around a bird table.

Aimed at P6 – S2 age groups, the Tweety Pi programme challenges pupils to code a Raspberry Pi, firstly with Scratch and later with Python, to use a passive infrared sensor to detect motion around a bird table, which in turn triggers the camera to take photographs.

This approach to monitoring wildlife often engages teachers who are reticent about coding by giving them a tangible and practical application to focus on. After a successful pilot in 50 schools in Dundee, the Highland, Inverclyde, Moray and North and South Ayrshire, the programme is being extended to a further 30 schools in Dumfries & Galloway, Moray & Orkney which currently have no extracurricular computing provision.

The project also includes the provision of the Barefoot Computing resources through BT Scotland.

Midlothian Council and Volunteer Midlothian

Another project that involves the use of Libraries for the delivering of Code Club activities, with this one using senior secondary school pupils and adult volunteers, working with Midlothian Library employees as the trainers/hosts.

Several of the Clubs are located within disadvantaged areas and reach young people that would ordinarily not have the opportunity or be encouraged to participate in computing related activity.

Using the successful Code Club model, young people aged 9 – 11 years are initially taught to use Scratch before moving onto more advanced coding activities involving Python, Scratch operated robots and Lego® robotics.

One major benefit of this project is the impact that it potentially has on the 15+ year old secondary school volunteers who gain a whole range of soft skills through sharing their knowledge and training the younger pupils. It is hoped that this approach will provide a pathway from primary school through to secondary school and then beyond into FE, career or Modern Apprenticeship.

Queens Cross Housing Association and Glasgow Kelvin College

A partnership between Queens Cross Housing Association and Glasgow Kelvin College has led to the development of a wide range of workshops, activities and coding experiences for young people aged 9 – 16 years from disadvantaged areas in North Glasgow.

The workshops involve digital skills experiences using Minecraft®, Raspberry Pi, digital makers MakLab, where students learn how to design, fail, refine, create and produce an object, and an IT department work experience, all designed to offer a natural progression for the young person as they build their skills, confidence and enthusiasm for tech. QCHA also recruits some of the young people to its Youth Volunteering programme to assist in the delivery of the Minecraft sessions, which builds their confidence and skills and enables QCHA to continually produce ‘trainers’ for future sessions.

Amongst the many excellent experiences offered the young people is the opportunity to work alongside the skilled Queens Cross Housing Association IT team to gain ‘real life’ experience of a busy IT department, supporting more than 250 employees. During the day, the students explore differing technologies, offer their perspectives (as future tenants) on use of technology and even resolve a staged ‘IT Crisis’.

An important part of the project is the promotion of the activities to the wider community, allowing the young people to demonstrate the work they’ve completed to their parents which in turn leads to an understanding of the opportunities that technology and IT offers as a career.

Edinburgh College and Oracle

A very innovative project that is based on popular TV drama series such as CSI and NCSI. Edinburgh College and Oracle have developed a CSI Forensic Investigation course which involves computing, coding and digital media for secondary pupils aged 12 – 16.

The project aims to encourage pupils, particularly those not ordinarily or traditionally interested in computing science or STEM subjects, to participate in through the use of innovative digital content, based around a crime scene.

Offered to schools in Edinburgh and the Lothians, pupils engage in a variety of digital activities covering digital media production/editing skills, coding skills and computing skills during their first three sessions at Edinburgh College. On the fourth session pupils attend a crime scene investigation and using all the skills they have developed attempt to build a case against one of the suspects.

Argyll and Bute Council

Argyll & Bute Council will use Digital Xtra funding to establish an extra-curricular digital learning Hub based in Dunoon that will benefit hundreds of local young people. The Hub will provide a dedicated technology space and access for pupils to cutting edge digital technology.

The local authority will also offer an outreach service for around 380 pupils under the age of 16 in more remote areas across Argyll & Bute, by delivering a series of lunchtime and after school clubs, as well as Technology Roadshows.

These services will engage with young people to demonstrate how relevant and important digital skills are in society today. By interacting with drones, programmable Lego, robotics and Raspberry Pi computers, pupils will also learn how enjoyable this can be, encouraging them to consider pursuing these subjects further at school.

This project will also evaluate the benefits of establishing a network of extra-curricular learning hubs in this area.

College Development Network

Around 200 primary and secondary school pupils across Scotland will benefit from the College Development Network’s web application project, Can You Code It?

The initiative, developed by industry partners and inspired by their real life experiences in the sector, is designed to help young programmers develop their Python coding skills through a series of weekly challenges. Additional information on career opportunities will be provided to support the pupils considering entering the industry. Younger children at primary school will enjoy a series of exciting challenges developed by the Edinburgh International Science Festival.

Once pupils have submitted their code, it is automatically analysed to see if it provides a workable solution, rather than a correct or incorrect answer. This allows for a variety of possible solutions, and encourages young people to be creative with their coding.

These challenges are mapped to SQA qualifications, and selected challenges can even be submitted as evidence for learning outcomes, helping young people work towards their educational goals.

ComputerXplorers

ComputerXplorers will introduce S1 pupils in East Lothian to coding through exciting and engaging workshops.

Inspired by the ambitious rollout across the UK of the BBC Micro:bit last year, ComputerXplorers will use this pocket-sized computer equipped with motion detection, built-in compass and Bluetooth technology to spark creativity and show children they can be more than the consumers of technology – they can also be the makers.

Expected to reach around 360 pupils, this project will also include 3 CPD sessions for teachers, to help them understand how they can continue to inspire their pupils about technology in the classroom throughout the year.

Dundee & Angus College in partnership with the Dundee Science Centre

Aiming to reach around 600 pupils in Dundee, the project will deliver an informal learning programme to young people located in areas unequipped with the facilities and resources required to foster engagement with digital skills.

Pupils aged 12-16 engage with the project, which will be implemented in three stages. ‘Portable lab’ sessions will introduce them to vital computer science fields, such as networking, programming and web design, through a series of fun and interactive practical events.

Free evening Code Academy classes and taster workshops will also be offered. This will provide an opportunity for young people to gain first hand practical experience of web development, robotics and software development, creating a solid understanding of basic programming and technical skills.

Participants in the project and their families will be invited to a celebratory digital themed day at the Dundee Science Centre, to provide a further learning opportunity in a fun environment and congratulate the children on their hard work.

Fife College

Addressing the gender imbalance in the IT sector, Fife College will use the Digital Xtra funding to deliver an after-school club for P7 girls in the East Neuk of Fife, building confidence and introducing a new creative outlet while teaching them what the digital sector has to offer.

Twenty pupils will create computer applications of personal interest or to benefit the community, to create their own new computer application supported by the Apps for Good initiative. Students are encouraged to use new technologies to design and make products that can make a difference to their world. Mentors, including industry role models, female STEM ambassadors and female staff, will support them.

This funding will also enable the project to train local teachers in the use of technology and delivery methods for the Apps for Good programme, to create a sustainable model for this project that can be rolled out further across Fife.

Two teachers in each of the following schools will be trained – Pittenweem, Colinsburgh, Crail, Anstruther St Monans and Elie. This training will be delivered in schools and via the cloud, and is supported by industry and the Fife Education Authority.

Forth Valley College

Forth Valley College will use the Digital Xtra funding to engage with around 50 school children in the Falkirk area across P7, S1 and S2, introducing them to digital skills and showing them the varied opportunities available in the tech sector through a series of interactive extracurricular #GetCoding courses.

This project will work with primary school pupils to develop their digital skills and creativity by producing a fun interactive animation.

Secondary school children will be given the opportunity to improve their problem solving skills and create their own interactive 2D game using JavaScript over two exciting sessions.

18 primary and secondary school teachers will also be offered CPD training to develop their digital knowledge and skills. These sessions will ensure they have the confidence to deliver their own #GetCoding clubs, guaranteeing the sustainability and long-term impact of the project.

Glasgow Science Centre & CoderDojo Scotland

Children across Scotland will benefit from the maintenance and development of new coding clubs, with Digital Xtra funding bringing new clubs to areas currently lacking this resource.

CoderDojo Scotland is a network of high-quality, extracurricular digital learning clubs, delivered by expert volunteers with backgrounds in digital technologies.

This project will also implement a series of tried and tested measures to improve the gender balance in five CoderDojo clubs. It aims to increase the number of girls participating in coding activities and retain these students over time.

A toolkit will be created to assist the wider network across Scotland to improve gender inclusivity. This will allow the project to share its methodologies and best practice to increase female participation rates in coding activities.

Raspberry Pi Foundation

The Raspberry Pi Foundation will use the funding to create 76 new after school Coding Clubs. Currently around 4,500 children across Scotland aged 9-11 years old benefit from this project. These new clubs will help reach at least another 1,000 pupils by the end of April 2017.

Children in Code Clubs are helped by volunteers and educators to work through a curriculum of educational projects to learn about coding by making animations, games and websites.

This project will also place a coordinator in Scotland to focus on the face-to-face recruitment and training of new volunteers across Scotland, with a key focus on schools in four rural areas: Aberdeenshire, Dumfries & Galloway, Perth & Kinross and the Scottish Borders.

These Code Clubs aim to reach as many children in Scotland as possible to give them the skills, confidence and opportunity to discover the transformational power of programming through play.

SCDI Little Lighthouse Project

This exciting interdisciplinary project designed for P1 – P4 pupils uses the context of lighthouses to introduce them to various STEM concepts, including electricity, light, sounds and computing science.

Through a partnership between Scottish Council for Development & Industry (SCDI) and BT Scotland, teachers in 40 schools in Highland, Western Isles, Perth & Kinross and the Scottish Borders will receive CPD training courses to equip them with the knowledge and skills they need to deliver the Little Lighthouse project in schools, benefiting 1200 pupils across the four areas. To assist them with this, the schools will receive a resource kit.

The project will combine the CAS Barefoot computing workshop to introduce computational thinking, with a range of exciting digital activities using CodeBugs and Scratch. Over 1,200 children will benefit from the introduction of this project.

West College Scotland Coding Clubs

Pupils in S1 and S2 in targeted schools in Renfrewshire will benefit from the opportunity to take part in extracurricular coding clubs in a project which aims to engage pupils in coding, increase their skills, build their interest in computing science and also influence subject choices for their studies in S3 and S4.

Three schools in the Renfrewshire area will host a coding club with 15 pupils in each. The project will aim for a 50/50 split of boys/girls.

Coding clubs will focus on teaching pupils about programming, animation and games development, using accessible development tools such as Scratch, Kodu and Touch Develop.

West College Scotland’s teaching staff will mentor a team of STEM ambassadors, recruited from West College Scotland’s senior students, who will run the clubs on a week-to-week basis. This will allow those students to share their knowledge and enthusiasm for computing science, while at the same time benefitting them through the opportunity to undertake valuable work experience.

To sustain the Coding Clubs in the longer term, secondary school teachers in Renfrewshire will be recruited to the programme, receiving CPD sessions to train them on coding tools and applications and how to deliver Coding Clubs, including the use of the BBC Micro:bit, an embedded system designed for use in computer education in the UK.

  • Edinburgh College
  • Princes Trust
  • Forfar Academy
  • SLIC
  • British Telecom
  • Findlay Design
  • Artonix
  • Edinburgh International Science Festival
  • Inverness College
  • Selex ES
  • Volunteer Midlothian
  • Midlothian
  • Glasgow Kelvin College
  • Rampaging Chariots
  • Oracle
  • apps-for-good
  • QCHA
  • west
  • computerxplorers-logo
  • argyll-bute
  • raspberry_pi_logo_digital_xtra_fund
  • forth_college_digital_xtra_fund
  • Fife College Logo – Full Colour
  • coderdojoscotland_digital_xtra_fund
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