DigiLocal is supporting the development of problem solving skills and building resilience in young people. We do this by supporting communities to run tech clubs for their young people.
We also encourage and celebrate participation in extra-curricular activities outside of school. The impact of these activities is proven to be positive which is why we’re committed to creating a level playing field of opportunity and opening up access to children of all backgrounds.
One of these celebrations is through the Children’s University.
The Children’s University is an international charity devoted to helping children discover the fascinating world around them, and appreciate the real-world relevance of their school subjects. We encourage 5–14 year olds to take part in all kinds of activities outside of school, so that they can develop new interests, learn new skills and enjoy new experiences.
We’ve been a registered Learning Destination since 2018 and had our first successful graduate in the class of ’19!
Since launching our clubs as Learning Destinations, we’ve signed up 12 young people from 5 different clubs and registered over 200 hours collectively!
Young people, parents, mentors and invited guests gathered at Barton Hill Settlement on Saturday to celebrate everyone’s achievements over the year.
Key to our events is bringing young people from across our 14 clubs together to share their passion for tech and coding. As part of our LINKS progression system, we require young people to showcase their work to their peers. This builds confidence as well as reaffirming their achievements.
Our events are also opportunities for our volunteer mentors to gather and share ideas and experiences. Being a volunteer can be a lonely experience, even if you’re volunteering with someone else (all our clubs have two DBS cleared volunteers).
We also showcased some robotic equipment that we are trying out with Rhubarb World. These desktop industrial robots use a similar coding language to Scratch so integrate nicely into our content provision.
Of course the focus of the day are the young people.
The next generation(s) of high tech innovators came together on Saturday 10 March 2018 for a morning of sharing ideas, code, and enthusiasm for building cool stuff! We had representatives from Barton Hill, Bedminster, Bradley Stoke, Docklands, Malcolm X Community Centre, Redmaids, and Shirehampton clubs.
Our celebration events are an opportunity for young people from across our DigiLocal communities to gather and share their ideas and enthusiasm. Some have been working on projects guided by CodeClub materials, some have been working on their own side projects, and some on our larger Challenge project. All came on Saturday to showcase their work and learn from others.
In September 2017 we launched a major Challenge across all our DigiLocal clubs. The invitation has been for the young people to develop an idea for a business or environmental simulation / game, and to then build it in Scratch or Python. We’ve provided them with additional resources to help structure their development process. Many of the young people on Sat were exhibiting their projects and seeking testers for the next iteration.
One of the major announcements on Saturday was the launch of this year’s BAFTA Young Games Designer competition. Not by coincidence, the resources we’ve been using with our young people are from BAFTA. We expect these projects to be further enhanced over the next couple of months ready for the 25 April deadline for BAFTA. Volunteers have access to additional resources to help develop the applications and support our young people.
The second major announcement was the launch of our LINKS scheme for recognising the achievement of our young people. We want to encourage young people to 1) learn new things in their club activities; 2) put that learning into practice through our projects and challenges; and 3) to be rewarded for their achievements.
At each stage of LINKS, we review the projects our young people have undertaken, assess their commitment to their community club, and then reward them with a coloured USB wristband. As they undertake more complex projects, and become more involved through peer-mentoring, we reward them with different colours and higher capacity USB wristbands.
Alongside the LINKS scheme we’re introducing new projects, such as our Mission Mars series and our ongoing series of Challenges to give young people even more opportunities to enjoy tech and practice what they have been learning.
This will provide us with a structured approach to maintaining engagement over the long term, whilst recognising the huge contribution our young people make to their communities.
Another really positive feedback from the day was the number of parents that asked to have access to their child’s saved work folder so they can continue working from home (where they have access to a home computer). We’ll be adding that parental access over the coming weeks to encourage more participation in high tech.
We were very grateful to Redmaids’ High School for the use of their fabulous Redland Hall for the day.
Redmaids has been an early supporter of DigiLocal and their club has produced a number of fantastic projects from the girls participating.
On Saturday 1 July we welcomed young people from 8 DigiLocal local clubs across the West of England to share their visions of life in the year 2030!
We saw Scratch games for managing the ecology (and the importance of bees), through house delivery systems by helicopter, to health apps, and even a resource gathering game in python / Minecraft. A huge range of projects developed from original ideas the young people had, and taken through to functioning code over a period of roughly 6 months.
The future is in this room and even though you may not yet know what you’ll be doing when you leave school, it’s hugely encouraging to see your enthusiasm for science and technology.
Tim Bowles, West of England Regional Mayor
We were honoured to host Tim Bowles (West of England Regional Mayor) to say a few words of encouragement opening the day. He was then completely drawn into the enthusiasm and competence demonstrated by the young people, spending the whole morning talking to each young person about their ideas and how they’d produced their final game.
DigiLocal is designed to support local communities run tech clubs for their young people. Each club meets once a week for about an hour. We’re currently supporting clubs every day of the week (with 2 on Tuesdays and Saturdays), representing around 100 kids every week having fun with tech and learning about building their own projects.
Clubs take place all over the West of England, and we’re working to start more where there is greatest need.
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