Round II Projects

A summary of the superb projects supported by Digital Xtra Fund in the second round of grant funding

Digital Xtra Fund followed up the first round of funding with an equally impressive list of innovative and diverse range of projects which included training for primary school teachers to deliver Apps for Good sessions to female after school clubs and support to grow and sustain the network of CoderDojo clubs across Scotland.

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.

Argyll & 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.

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