DigiLocal celebration and the launch of Engine Shed’s coding worksheet project

DigiLocal celebration and the launch of Engine Shed’s coding worksheet project.

On Saturday 8th December, DigiLocal hosted a celebration for all its participants and supporters at Barton Hill Settlement. The event was attended by Lord Lieutenant, Peaches Golding to share in the achievements of the young people and their parents/carers.

The celebration was an opportunity for DigiLocal club attendees across the West of England to showcase their coding projects from the past year, and also saw the launch of Engine Shed’s new coding game worksheets, Hungry Hyena and Capoiera Dancer.

The worksheets were developed in community workshops in Barton Hill, where DigiLocal and a team of volunteer engineers collected stories from DigiLocal students in diverse communities, and wrote code for the games to reflect their culture. The showcase on 8th December was the first time the DigiLocal students have seen the results of this workshops.

200 young people attend 15 DigiLocal clubs run by 30 mentors across the West of England. The clubs teach coding in Scratch, and highlight national projects including the BAFTA Games Award, and the Raspberry Pi Astropi Competition, which gives young people the chance to have their code run on the International Space Station.

John Bradford from DigiLocal said:

“DigiLocal is all about supporting communities to run tech clubs for their young people. Building these cultural stories and games in code is a great way for young people to see both their cultural relevance and future employment in one place. The support from Engine Shed has produced a fantastic partnership that I hope will lead to many more project guides like these.”

Students from boomsatsuma’s new Gaming, VR, and VFX course created the visual representations of the characters in the game. Joe Vass, Course Leader at boomsatsuma said:

“This has been a great project for us here on the games design course, the students have benefited from working as a team and have got to practise the art skills they have been learning. This is valuable experiencing responding to a real life brief, and contributing to a useful community project. The students have enjoyed it, and we hope we can do some more collaborations in the future.”

Lorraine Fairbanks, Engine Shed’s Partnerships Manager said:

“We’re really looking forward to seeing how the students will navigate the new worksheets. This was part of Engine Shed’s first ever open-call for projects to address the important need for creating a diverse workforce for the future. Young people need to see themselves represented in the content of these games in order to see tech as their own future career. This was one of the key benefits of the DigiLocal project – its collaborative nature, working with Young Genius and maths education project ‘Maths Hackers,’ and boomsatsuma, ensured the end product will be relevant and useful for future generations to learn from.”

Lucia Burtnik from Math Hackers said:

“What makes this project unique is the holistic perspective of digital skills development. Re-thinking old community stories through the lenses of maths and code allowed us to apply the principles of meaningful learning: using emotions, narratives, and fun so new knowledge and skills can be developed, and the young people can imagine themselves reaching places they never thought before!”

For more information about DigiLocal code clubs, visit their website here and their current crowdfunding campaign to support their expansion.