Round VIII (2023/24)

A summary of the remarkable initiatives supported by Digital Xtra Fund during the Fund’s eighth round of grant funding. In total, 26 extracurricular tech initiatives were awarded grants of up to £5,000 each.

This year, Digital Xtra Fund received an overwhelming response with a record 141 submissions – a 50% increase on the previous year. While it is very encouraging to see the growing demand for extracurricular tech activities in Scotland, it also makes it even more difficult to select which applications are successful. After a lengthy evaluation process by a panel of volunteers from industry and education and skills sector, the Fund is pleased to be supporting 26 schools and educational organisations during the 2023/24 academic year. The 26 grants cover 18 Local Authorities and include 13 primary schools, 4 secondary schools, 1 school for pupils with additional support needs, 2 councils, 1 library and 5 additional educational organisations. Altogether, this means the Fund’s eighth round of grant awards has a projected engagement of 2,567 children and young people, including 1,344 girls and young women.

Association for Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers

The Association for Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers in Aberdeen will build coding, critical thinking, and leadership skills for young people between the ages of 8 –16 via their new NextGen Coding Club which will be run both in-person and online. They will focus on HTML/CSS, Python, and robotic programming using LEGO Education SPIKE Prime.

Boroughmuir High School

Boroughmuir High School in Edinburgh will build on the success of their lunchtime coding clubs by providing students in S1-S3 an opportunity to compete in FIRST LEGO League Challenge using LEGO Education SPIKE Prime. Teams will research and explore how technology can help solve real-world problems, build and program an autonomous robot, and develop crucial life skills.

Carluke High School

Students at Carluke High School in South Lanarkshire will take part in a series web development and games development modules focusing on coding and programming. Participants will showcase their STE(A)M achievements and best practices through the development of a school WordPress website where pupils will edit and adapt HTML & CSS theme template files alongside inline and embedded coding.

Civic Digits C.I.C.

Up to 150 primary school pupils in Dundee will participate in The Big Data Show by Civic Digits C.I.C. at Abertay University’s new cyberQuarter. The Big Data Show is a day-long, immersive programme featuring two workshops and an interactive drama aimed at 11-12 year olds. Participants will combine coding and data skills by creating a motorised emoji before learning about ethical hacking and then finish off the day learning about their rights and responsibilities with online data.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar will share equipment and resources with schools across the Western Isles to upskill children and educators coding using Sphero indis for younger children and Marty the Robot for older children. Both groups will first learn about screenless coding before the older pupils move on to block-based programming using MartyBlocks. The grant will also support the creation of a new LEGO Club at Sgoil nan Loch using LEGO Education Spike Essential.

Craigbank Primary School

Primary 7 pupils at Craigbank Primary School in South Lanarkshire will deliver coding activities for younger pupils at the school using Sphero indis, helping them develop an understanding and awareness of coding skills through a series of both screenless and basic on-screen activities. This cross-stage collaboration will also enable the Primary 7 children to complete their SSERC accredited YSL award while developing positive relationships with their peers

Davidson's Mains Primary School

Davidson’s Mains Primary School’s ‘Girls’ Coding After School Club’ in Edinburgh will give girls in P5-P7 the opportunity to experience coding through a variety of different digital technologies including Sphero BOLTs, Sphero indis, and BBC micro:bits. The girls will work on a different cross-curricular STEM challenge each week before sharing their solutions with the club. Later, they will be able to share their learning at assemblies and with parents and carers too.

East Renfrewshire Council

East Renfrewshire Council will pilot a new lunchtime DigiSTEM Club for pupils from St John’s and Carlibar Primary Schools. Participants will develop skills in coding and computational thinking, problem solving, construction, engineering and design while using various devices such as Sphero BOLT and both LEGO Education SPIKE Prime and Essential. They will then transfer these skills to construct and code a robot which fulfils a set design brief.

Gorgie Mills School

The Schools of Engineering and Technology initiative, led by Gorgie Mills School in Edinburgh, will involve ASN schools from across the Authority. As ASN schools are typically smaller than most mainstream schools, their students have fewer extracurricular opportunities. This initiative will see pupils from several schools collaborate and learn to code using Sphero Mini Robots and LEGO Education SPIKE Prime before taking part in FIRST LEGO League.

Heart of Midlothian Football Club

This year’s grant for the Heart Of Midlothian FC Innovation Centre will see the creation of a brand new programme using LEGO Education SPIKE Prime and Essential. It will give young people in P4-P7 and S1-S3 in Edinburgh a free opportunity to gain vital digital and STEM skills such as coding, mechanics, and engineering while building and programming LEGO robots to tackle important challenges within the local community or even the wider world.

Hillhead Primary School

Hillhead Primary School in Glasgow will upskill their P5-7 Digital Leaders using Scratch, Sphero BOLTs, and BBC micro:bits during a lunchtime Digital Club so they can then lead on a series of weekly afterschool technology playground sessions for staff and pupils across the entire school. During Digital Learning Week, the Digital Leaders will also be asked to showcase the various skills they have learned to their peers across all year groups.

James Hamilton Primary School

Last year, James Hamilton Primary School in East Ayrshire delivered a series of 6-week coding clubs for older pupils using Sphero BOLTs. This year, the school was successful in their bid to extend the digital learning to their younger pupils using Sphero indis. Children in P1-4 will be offered the opportunity to attend an after school club for 6 weeks to learn screenless and basic block coding to help develop a foundation of computer science skills and knowledge.

Kettins Primary School

Building on the recent micro:bit giveaway to all primary schools, Kettins Primary School in Perth & Kinross will purchase some BBC micro:bit accessories including Kitronik’s Primary Computing Pack and a set of :Move Motors, as well as new laptops, to give 30 young people from this small, rural school the opportunity to take their coding to the next level. The club will run across three 8-week cohorts including a more advanced cohort next Spring.

Lasswade Primary School

Lasswade Primary School in Midlothian will offer a new coding club for their younger pupils using Blue-Bots. Attendees will participate in navigational activities, tinkering to test the capabilities of the robots, meeting and designing challenges, storytelling activities, and engaging with robotics experts. The club will be supported by older pupils, who will be given the opportunity to develop leadership and interpersonal skills as they help guide the younger learners.

McLaren High School

McLaren High School in Stirling has won several awards in FIRST LEGO League including third place at 2022’s international final in Brazil. They will use this experience and collaborate with Bannockburn, Dunblane, and Stirling High Schools to deliver a Stirling-themed LEGO robotics competition for primary schools within their clusters. High School students will support students from P5-P7 as they learn to build and code using LEGO Education SPIKE Prime.

Mearns Primary School

Mearns Primary School in East Renfrewshire will create a new code club for pupils in P5-P7 called, ‘AI Pie – A Slice for Everyone’. It will introduce concepts such as data analysis, machine learning, and artificial intelligence using LEGO Education SPIKE Prime and Raspberry Pi’s. Participants will build and program robots to perform tasks such as object recognition, voice recognition, and autonomous navigation as well as on-screen data activities.

Midlothian Council

Extracurricular clubs struggled during the pandemic and coding clubs in libraries were no exception. Midlothian Council, in collaboration with Volunteer Midlothian, will continue to rebuild their tech offering for young people with three new clubs. The clubs will be available over eight weeks each in three locations including Newbattle, Gorebridge, and Pathhead. Young people will learn about coding and electronics using Arduinos before completing a series of fun, creative activities.

Newmains Primary School

Newmains Primary School in North Lanarkshire will build on its current offering of Scratch, micro:bits and Barefoot coding by creating a series of activities using Sphero indis and Sphero BOLTs. The activities will be appropriate for younger children from Nursery up to P4 with delivery facilitated by the school’s Digital Leaders, a group of eight older pupils. There will be three cohorts throughout the year including one for Nursery-age children solely using the indis.

North Rhins Partnership

Portpatrick, Leswalt, and Kirkcolm Primary Schools in Dumfries & Galloway have come together to create the North Rhins Partnership. They will collaborate on a new initiative giving children an opportunity to learn coding using Sphero BOLTs. To re-engage their family community post-Covid, they will also be inviting parents and carers to participate in open sessions to learn with the children and foster a collective enthusiasm for learning technology skills.

St Andrew’s RC Primary School

St Andrew’s RC Primary School in Dundee, with support from their cluster secondary school, will create four STEM clubs for pupils of various ages focussing on coding, engineering, and robotics, including an all-girls P6/7 club. Equipment purchased with the grant will include BBC micro:bits, VEX GO, and LEGO Education Spike Prime and Essential kits as well as LEGO Coding Express for younger children. Children will also get an opportunity to take part in FIRST LEGO League at two levels.

St Anthony’s Primary School

St Anthony’s Primary School in Renfrewshire aims to increase access to high quality computing experiences across the school community, including family learning, using a range of devices including Botley 2.0, Sphero indis, Sphero BOLTs, VEX Go, and Marty the Robot. They are also planning to offer an all-girls and an ASN club to increase engagement and will also be incorporating the Young STEM Leader programme adding even more value to their experiences.

St Cadoc’s Primary School

‘Girls Coding Together’ will be a new all girls club delivered by St Cadoc’s Primary School in East Renfrewshire with support from Make It Happen. Participants will get hands-on with coding using th LEGO Education SPIKE Prime and Essential and Sphero BOLTs. There will be four cohorts offered across the academic year for six weeks each. Volunteers from the first two cohorts can then help lead separate co-ed and early learner coding clubs after Christmas.

St Matthew’s Academy

St Matthew’s Academy in North Ayrshire already run two successful tech clubs – a coding club for S1-S2 and an animation/gaming club for S1-S4 – and are planning to build on this success by introducing a new FIRST LEGO League club for S1-S4 based on LEGO Education SPIKE Prime. Teams will engage in research, problem-solving, coding, and engineering while creating a LEGO robot to navigate preset missions under the theme, ‘Masterpiece’.

St Vincent’s Primary School

St Vincent’s Primary School in South Lanarkshire are planning to deliver an exciting Coding Club for P6 and P7 girls using Sphero indis, BBC micro:bits, VEX GO, Marty the Robot, and Scratch. Following this, the girls will become the school’s Digital Leaders and help deliver activities for other pupils such as Sphero indis with P1 pupils and VEX GO with P4-P7 pupils. Some P6-P7 boys will also get a chance to use the new equipment in a separate club led by the Digital Leaders.

STEM Ambassadors in Scotland

STEM Ambassadors in Scotland are the Scottish arm of the UK-wide STEM Ambassadors programme. They have over 20 years’ experience connecting STEM professionals with young people to promote STEM careers. They will fund and support eight Secondary School from across Fife as they participate in the FIRST LEGO League Challenge using LEGO Education SPIKE Prime while also continuing to support the schools for two subsequent years thereafter

YMCA Tayside

‘Tech Drop-In’ at YMCA Tayside in Perth & Kinross will be a unique experience for young people to engage with a variety of digital technologies. The club will increase their current tech offerings with coding activities using Sphero BOLTs, BBC micro:bits, and Raspberry Pis. Each month, the club will offer activities using themes such as coding, robotics, or games development, as well as types of technology, giving participants plenty of opportunities to try something new.

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