Children set to create digital games, animations and build websites

Public libraries across Scotland have launched clubs designed to inspire the next generation of coders. Aimed at 9 to 11 year-olds, they will give young people the opportunity to learn a wide variety of digital skills.

Children will be able to learn how to create digital games, build animations and develop websites. Organisers say that with activities being group based, they will also have the chance to boost their self-esteem and develop communication skills – thereby improving their employability.

The Scottish Library and Information Council has trained more than 140 librarians in basic coding skills to make the pioneering Code Clubs possible. Working in partnership with the UK-wide charity Code Club, SLIC delivered a series of one-day digital training events at the beginning of the year.

Gillian Daly, SLIC’s head of policy and projects, said: “Public libraries in Scotland are a place where people can access technology and learn how to use it. Digital technology touches every aspect of our lives and digital literacy is vital to tackle inequality and social exclusion and promote self-improvement.

“Code Clubs are a fun and engaging way for young people to learn new skills. Most young people these days know how to work a smartphone better than any adult, but we still need to equip them with the right skills and knowledge for their future as technology and computing specialisms become embedded into our careers.”

SLIC was awarded £47,000 in funding from Scotland’s Digital Xtra Fund to deliver the Code Clubs across Scottish public library services. The fund provides grant support to organisations delivering extracurricular computing and digital activities to young people aged 16 and under across Scotland. It has been developed and funded by the Digital Scotland Business Excellence Partnership whose partners include the Scottish Government, Skills Development Scotland and tech trade body ScotlandIS.

Phil Worms, computing and schools project lead at ScotlandIS, added: “The Digital Xtra Fund aims to make a real and lasting impact in the provision of extracurricular computing science-related activities for young people aged 16 years and under across the whole of Scotland.

“We have a range of amazing activities and projects being delivered across Scotland to encourage young people to participate and engage in computing activities, thus developing skills which will be vital for them to thrive in their future careers. Working with organisations like SLIC means we are delivering scalability, sustainability and innovation meaning even more young people have access to these fantastic opportunities.”

Lorna Gibson, Scotland coordinator at Code Club, said: “The benefits of coding are far broader than just developing important digital skills. At a Code Club children are problem solving, collaborating, persevering and creating, all whilst having fun designing games and animations. We want to see a Code Club in every community, so that all children can have the opportunity to make and share their ideas using technology.”

Visit the Code Club page to find out more.