DYW Learning in Lockdown- Micro: bit Coding with Sky Technology

Sky Technology, in partnership with DYW West Lothian, dressCode and Digital Xtra Fund, have created a suite of online tutorials to help primary school pupils achieve a basic knowledge of coding in less than an hour. The tutorials can be viewed here.

Shona Finlayson, Software Engineering Team Lead at Sky Technology, told us why this virtual learning opportunity for schools has been created:

“We recognise our commitment to our wider local community and – in the absence of being able to do school visits – we are delighted to help prepare young people for the world of work using videos. In some ways, this gives us a unique opportunity to give young people a chance to engage with coding and IT careers which could provide them with new ideas for their future and for our talent pool of the future.”

Toni Scullion of dressCode– a charity founded with the aim of closing the gender gap in Computing Science – explains the importance of the IT industry engaging with education.

“What makes projects like this so special is that they provide a gateway for pupils who otherwise would not have the chance to explore the Computing Science in school. Hearing from industry experts is also crucial! Not only does it highlight amazing opportunities in Scotland’s tech industry, it also shows real people, real role models who are excited to be working in tech and this makes the idea more tangible and realistic to young people. Scotland has a booming tech industry with incredible possibilities in all areas of Computing Science such as Cyber Security, Data Science, Graphic Design and Software Development, so projects like this are really important to help bridge the gap between industry and education. It helps ignite excitement, wonder and enthusiasm for the subject in young people to ultimately help inspire the next generation of Scottish Computer Scientists! ”

Working with either a physical micro: bit -provided by Digital Xtra Fund- or using a virtual equivalent, pupils are supported in their coding journey with step by step instructions from an industry expert at Sky.

Kraig T Brown, Partnerships Development Manager at Digital Xtra Fund, tells us more about the micro: bit and why it is key to learning how to code:

“The micro: bit is a brilliant piece of hardware; it’s easy to learn, versatile and small. These are all key qualities as we look to increasingly engage with young people and their families from home. Digital Xtra Fund is pleased to be working with our partner Sky as well as DYW West Lothian and dressCode.org to put micro: bits in the hands of local young people and help build their skills and confidence with digital technologies.”

In addition to  the tutorials, pupils also have the opportunity to watch a series of videos made by staff at Sky  Technology – covering topics such as what it’s like working at Sky Technology and the variety of pathways there are for young people when starting a career in IT.

One of the schools that has benefited from the micro: bit coding tutorials is Livingston Village Primary School. Lesley Fraser, Principal Teacher (Acting) tells us more about their experience.

“The children were all delighted to receive a micro: bit to work with alongside the tutorials. These tutorials and the associated learning involve children in understanding and analysing computer technology and the opportunity to design, build and test computing solutions. The tutorials enable learners to make links between these skills and future career options. They are clear and easy to follow and allow the children to progress at a pace suitable for them. Our learners are looking forward to getting creative with their micro: bits”.

If you would like to explore the ways in which your business can offer young people the opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge, DYW West Lothian would love to hear from you.

Please contact: arlene.nicol@dyw-wl.com

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