Round V (2019/20)

A summary of the fantastic initiatives supported by Digital Xtra Fund during the Fund’s fifth round of grant funding. In total, 25 extracurricular tech initiatives were awarded grants of up to £5,000 each.

Digital Xtra Fund recently completed its fifth round of grant awards. Grants totalling £110,000 were awarded to 25 extracurricular tech initiatives across Scotland to help inspire the next generation of developers, designers and digital leaders. The projected engagement of these 25 initiatives is 9,184 children and young people, including 4,684 girls and young women, across 22 local authorities. All of these initiatives have demonstrated the ability to engage, inspire and enable young people and help demonstrate the huge variety of careers these skills can open up for them.

Balmalloch Primary School

Balmalloch Primary School, a rural school in North Lanarkshire, will be creating an after school club looking at new technology and ways the world is changing because of this technology. The club will also begin the process of looking at how technology is changing the workforce. Pupils will have the opportunity to use Spheros, micro:bits and robot toys. Resources and skills will be shared within the school, then across the cluster (local area) and finally across the whole Local Authority area.

Bowmore Primary School

In 2019, Port Ellen Primary School received a grant to pilot ‘Resilient Robotics’ on Islay. Building on the success of this initiative, Bowmore Primary School will be extending the project by providing high quality and exciting tech experiences for the lower school and nursery, audiences not targeted in the original ‘Resilient Robotics’ initiative. The activities will be designed to engage children’s natural curiosity and desire to tinker using programmable toys such as Code-a-pillar, Spheros, Rugged Robots, Makey Makey, Dash Robots and Merge Cubes. The school will run the programme as after school clubs, work with mother and toddler groups and go into nursery settings to model how to use the resources to build on children’s digital experiences.

Bun Sgoil Bhreascleit

Bun Sgoil Bhreascleit in the Western Isles will run after school and lunch time clubs teaching coding and robotics using Spheros, Code-a-pillars, LEGO WeDo and LEGO Mindstorm. The clubs will give pupils an opportunity to develop their programming skills using Scratch and Python. By providing resources with a range of complexity, these sessions will be progressive from simple Code-a-pillars through to building and programming more complex robotic systems. The school also aim to help raise awareness amongst parents and carers about the career opportunities available to their children and demonstrate that geography and location need not be a barrier.

Civic Digits CIC

The Big Data Show by Civic Digits CIC will engage around 1,000 11-13 year olds while exploring cyber security and associated data skills. It will consist of two workshops delivered in-school as well as a live performance-meets-mobile-gaming experience that takes place in a traditional theatre. The workshops will introduce the concept of data through a variety of cross curricular activities. The interactive live performance is designed to educate young people in cyber vulnerability and threats to young people’s wellbeing in the digital world. Skills acquired include an understanding of what data is, and the ability to manipulate it using a variety of materials, mechanisms, tools.

Cromar Future Group

Cromar Future Group is a community lead charity giving young people in rural Aberdeenshire the opportunity to develop their digital skills. They achieve this through a dual strategy of working with local schools to help young people learn digital skills on-site and by also providing an innovative and informal evening youth club called “Everything Electronics”. The club focuses on coding but also incorporates other digital skills such as robotics, electronics, graphic design, filming and stop motion. This multifaceted approach helps engage a wider variety of young people and ensures participants are learning important skills whilst also having fun. The grant from Digital Xtra Fund will enable the club to expand through the purchase of additional laptops.

Eastmuir Primary School

Eastmuir Primary School in Glasgow will develop a Digital Coding Club during lunchtimes targeting separate age/ability groups. Children will be introduced to coding, learn about technology in ‘real life’ context and then develop these skills to use in their futures. Participants will be from the Additional Learning Needs (ALN) sector and many will not have experienced a wide range of digital technologies. Learners will start at a beginner level before developing their skills weekly through projects and challenges; supporting a vast range of learning needs. The school believes it is vital to actively promote digital skills and inspire the young people to build upon these for their future.

Edinburgh Science

The first of two grants this year, Edinburgh Science will be developing a new activity designed to make programming fun and engaging for young people attending Careers Hive, an interactive STEM careers event at the National Museum of Scotland, and for children attending City Art Centre at the annual Edinburgh Science Festival. Using Scratch, young people will programme ‘Marty the Robot’ – a walking, dancing, playing robot – to follow commands, navigate obstacles and complete tasks. Participants will learn drag and drop programming, loops, and understand the concept of ‘if-then’ statements.

Edinburgh Science

In addition, Edinburgh Science will also deliver a touring workshop in Aberdeenshire and Perth & Kinross focussing on coding as part of their Generation Science programme. Aimed at children in P4-P7, ‘Creative Coding’ will be a 75-minute hands-on workshop in which children pair up to complete programming challenges and create a robot disco. Students will use programming language Scratch to program their own ‘Marty the Robot’ to follow commands and navigate its way around an obstacle course. As they explore programming, students will also develop their logic and problem-solving skills. As a touring programme, Generation Science can reach children who would not otherwise have access to advanced digital skills activities.

Flummix

Flummix is looking to increase awareness and inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs with a specially designed course aimed at developing digital technology skills in the eCommerce sector. Young people will be given the opportunity to explore an exciting area of the technologies sector by designing and building their own eCommerce shop. This modern and high-quality project-based course will engage learners with a unique and valuable learning opportunity that successfully unites entrepreneurship with advanced digital skills. The course will be delivered at the new Heart of Midlothian Innovation Centre and help expand the reach of digital education programmes available in the community for young people S3-S6.

Game Doctor

Game Doctor is a Scottish-based games studio that develops educational games on science and healthcare. The studio work with universities, government and companies to develop bespoke games to public on complex scientific topics. They will be collaborating with Port Glasgow High School in Inverclyde to deliver two enterprising workshops for 60 S1-S3 students on designing games for social impact. The workshops will be comprised of 4 segments: 1) Introduction to ‘serious’ games and technology 2) Group critique and evaluation of current technology; 3) Group design of serious games using paper-based and digital platforms and 4) Pitch of game ideas to peers.

Glasgow Gaelic School

Glasgow Gaelic School will develop a new High Flyers after school coding club based on drone technology. Pupils will learn to code, debug and problem solve while also learning teamwork, communication and interpersonal skills, providing lifelong skills for work. Using programmes such as Playground Swift, Tynker and other block-based coding programs, pupils will develop a desire to learn about STEM subject in real life context. The after school club will run once a week each term providing opportunities for a variety of pupils. Each week, pupils will be set a different challenge that will challenge their preconceptions about STEM and provide opportunities for them to think like a professional using technology to solve ‘real life’ problems.

Harrysmuir Primary School

Harrysmuir Primary School will collaborate with several primary schools in the Livingston area, as well as Inveralmond Community High School, to upskill both educators and learners by creating a series of fun, engaging and diverse learning experiences. They will provide a range of workshops using Scratch as well as micro:bits and Makey Makey. In June and December 2020, they will bring together learners from across the schools to showcase their learning in a mixed-age group coding challenge before celebrating their successes. By providing these new experiences participants will learn to problem solve; think creatively; work collaboratively; develop self-confidence; and understand in a world of digital consumption, they can be the future designers.

Heart of Midlothian FC

Heart of Midlothian FC will be expanding their range of free digital education programmes for young people with the addition of an App Development Club for young people in S1 and S2. Working with previous grant recipient Apps for Good to develop the club, participants will identify a challenge in their own lives or community and generate a possible tech-based solution by creating a mobile app. They will work through a range of activities, with assistance from industry mentors who will support their ideas. Over 10 weeks, they will be asked to reflect on the impact this tool would have on people, conduct market research and present their ideas to industry mentors for feedback.

Inverbrothock Primary School

‘The Great Inver Robotics Off’ by Inverbrothock Primary School in Angus will be an after school club for girls and identified pupils and their families from across the six First Level classes. Participants will engage in creative and fun programming activities using micro:bits and the robots Dash and Dot. The sessions will be assisted by digital leaders and a small group of S1 and S2 pupils from the local high school over a 6-week period. As part of a Robot Fashion Show, pupils and their families will program their robots to move, blink, speak and perform tricks .The aim is to get families talking, problem solving and creating together to help dispel the myth that digital technologies industries are too tricky and/or geared towards males.

King's Park Primary School

Using UBTECH Astrobot Cosmos Kits, King’s Park Primary School in Glasgow will create a series of high quality, exciting extracurricular ‘Build and Code’ clubs for their pupils. Children will have the opportunity to design, build and test computing solutions through a range of fun and engaging problem activities which require computational thinking skills and real-life solutions. Each club will run for a period of eight weeks and be repeated four times throughout the year both at lunch and after school. By operating clubs over the academic year at different times of the day, the school are ensuring a broader mix of learners from diverse backgrounds can participate.

Maisondieu Primary School

Maisondieu Primary School in Angus will be developing after school ‘Digi-Clubs’ and other family learning extracurricular activities using robots to teach coding and computational thinking to primary age children, especially young girls. Pupils will complete progressively more challenging tasks using ‘Marty the Robot’, an educational robot which has been chosen as the main engagement tool due to its adaptability, scalability, durability and engagement factor. The Clubs will culminate in a final challenge in which all groups will compete with the winners selected via an all-school vote. Older pupils who become proficient in coding will then support their fellow young pupils in future ‘Digi-Clubs’.

Moray College UHI

Moray College UHI and their industry partners will deliver three interconnected workshops four times each for young people S1 – S3. Each interactive workshop, delivered with industry, will focus on app development/programming with each lesson building on learning from the previous workshop. They will utilise the software MIT App inventor to develop the ideas and will encourage the young people to consider how these can be used across a range of activities and sectors by showing them some practical examples of existing apps.

Rayne North School

Using projects and resources provided by Code Club, Rayne North Code Club at Rayne North School in Aberdeenshire is currently at capacity with a waiting list of pupils wishing to join and a school roll that is expected to increase. Support from Digital Xtra Fund will enable the club to purchase additional laptops and increase capacity at the popular after school club by around 40%. The Club will also be introducing micro:bits and relevant activities to participants thereby increasing their exposure to a variety of technologies.

Riverside Primary School

Riverside Primary School is setting up an extracurricular STEM Club to help inspire young people to learn advanced digital technologies skills through high quality, exciting extracurricular activities; guiding them towards a career in digital technologies. The school will develop engineering and coding skills through building and programming resources based on the micro:bit including MOVE Mini Buggies, Smart Home and IoT kits and BinaryBots. The Scottish Schools Education Research Centre (SSERC) will also be providing further digital training for staff in Blocks, JavaScript and Python. The proposed STEM club is the first of its kind at the school the plan is to expand the STEM club across all terms, ages and stages.

Scottish Council for Development & Industry

Scottish Council for Development & Industry’s Young Engineers and Science Clubs (YESC) is the Scottish delivery partner for the VEX IQ Challenge, the world’s largest robotics competition. Through the extracurricular robotics clubs, young people design, build and programme a VEX IQ robot to compete locally, culminating ultimately in an exciting national competition. Demand from Scottish schools who’d like to participate is increasing, however, costs for the kit and the teacher training can be prohibitive. Funding from Digital Xtra Fund will enable up to 20 primary schools to take part in this inspiring competition. The equipment can then be used year after year with the annual competition ensuring a significant legacy for the project.

Shetland College UHI

Shetland College UHI will be engaging with local primary schools and community groups through a series of outreach programmes to excite and stimulate children to learn about technology and STEM careers. The College believes technology should be tangible to really involve children and will be engaging young people through computer-aided design and 3D printing. Participants will get an opportunity to design and print solutions for challenges based on the local environment, props for a holiday themed project in partnership with Shetland Arts Development Agency as well as use the technology as part of the College’s Skills for Work programme.

Stronsay Junior High School

Stronsay Junior High School will lead on the development of after school STEM clubs for the remote, isolated communities on the North Isles of Orkney. Currently, schools in this area have very limited access to resources which promote creativity with technology. The clubs will be designed for children between the ages of 4-10 and 11-16 years using resources known to engage and motivate children in creative tech projects. The clubs will run on a weekly basis for at least 12 weeks. Following the initial pilot, the resources will be made available to schools across the North Isles of Orkney who are in a similar position, as well as sharing knowledge and experiences from the initial club.

The Institution of Engineering and Technology,

The Institution of Engineering and Technology, in partnership with Energy Skills Partnership Scotland, will be expanding the delivery of FIRST LEGO League Jr in Dumfries & Galloway, East Ayrshire and the Scottish Borders. FIRST LEGO League Jr is a non-competitive, hands-on STEM programme for 6-9 year olds that develops teamwork, design, programming and communication skills. Teams of up to six children will research a real-world challenge set by the League before displaying their solutions on a “Show Me” poster as well as building a LEGO model with at least one programmed element using LEGO Education WeDO 2.0 software. Teams will also present what they have learned at a local Expo. By engaging children in technology early, The IET aim to change perceptions around computing science well before children make their subject choices.

The Nicolson Institute

The Nicolson Institute in the Western Isles will be introducing a LEGO Robotics Club using the EV3 LEGO Mindstorms robots. This club will meet during lunch time and after school with an aim of getting more pupils interested in Computing Science by allowing them to be creative and hands on; building, coding then testing their creations. The club will also compete in the Tomorrow’s Engineers EEP Robotics Challenge, allowing them to visit different parts of the country to share ideas and knowledge. In the future, the Institute will also look at opportunities to work with local primary schools to start up similar clubs.

University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI)

University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) will be building on their previous grant awards by developing a ‘Lend a Lab’ digital resource box to share with educators at schools and libraries across northern Scotland as well as with the public at community led science festivals. Other STEM providers will also be able to access the resources to encourage inclusion of digital sessions at a variety of events. Educators will be able to borrow the ‘Lend a Lab’ for up to four weeks with staff from UHI providing training on how to use the equipment and predeveloped resources. This will help build self-confidence and equip educators to support young people in an assured manner. For some organisations, it also presents an opportunity to “try before you buy” should they be interested in purchasing similar resources.

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