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Digital Making activities to expand opportunities for UK young people

Nesta, Nominet Trust and Mozilla announce backing for seven projects to spark a new generation of digital creators

More young people can now get involved in ‘digital making’ across the UK, with seven projects receiving a share of a £260,000 fund run by Nesta and Nominet Trust, in partnership with Mozilla, to encourage and stimulate learning through making.

The successful projects have been selected following an open call last year to find projects that let young people ‘make, create and do’ – to make digital things that connect the real world and the virtual one and invent new ways of ‘doing stuff’. The seven successful projects have each received funding (up to £50,000) to grow their projects and open their doors – online or physical – to more young people.

The fund was set-up to help inspire a generation of digital makers – young people with the skills, confidence and motivation to make, not just consume, digital technologies. The aim of the fund is to take digital making to the next level – from teaching digital making skills in new ways and new places, driving participation from new groups of users, to helping young people create new digital products.

The seven projects selected were chosen from over 100 applications and they each have strong ambitions to significantly increase the number of young people who participate in digital making.

Annika Small, CEO of Nominet Trust, explained, “Aside from the great deal of fun and learning that digital making offers young people, there is a more serious and economic imperative. The UK and global job markets are crying out for digital skills and we need to make sure that the next generation can meet this need.”
 
The seven projects to be backed by the fund are:
•    Code Club – a nationwide network of volunteer-led after school coding clubs for children aged 9-11; funds will be used to grow the 500 strong network of clubs across the UK and  provide curriculum materials for volunteers.
•    Glasgow Science Centre – promotes science and technology experiences that engage, challenge and inspire. Funds will be used to help establish, run and co-ordinate a network of CoderDojos, providing free and open computer programming clubs to young people across Scotland.
•    Printcraft – a free online Computer Aided Design (CAD) tool to introduce young people to 3D printing. Funds will be used to develop and scale the project by interactively designing the platform with young people.
•    Our Lady’s Catholic High School – Alan O’Donohoe is the principal teacher of ICT at the school and is passionate about teaching computing. Funds will be used to extend the reach of his events, Hack to the Future, and family-focused Raspberry Jam, around the UK.
•    Technocamps – a programme to get young people (aged 11-19) in Wales excited about Computer Science. Funds will be used to extend the offer to primary school children by designing a series of workshops and resources to be delivered to over 3,000 primary school children across Wales.
•    Technology Will Save Us – a haberdashery for technology and education, delivering workshops and designing and selling technology kits such as ‘DYI Synth’ or ‘DYI Speakers’ online and through in-store kiosks e.g. a partnership with the Science Museum. Funds will be used to work with young people to design and test up to 5 DIY technology kits ready for launch in the autumn.
•    Imagication - a project aimed at inspiring 10-11 year olds to recognise the implications and value of next generation technologies through the use of hands on workshops and online materials. Funds will be used to develop free online resources which enable young people to experiment with digital making and will be available for families, groups and schools.

Geoff Mulgan, chief executive of Nesta, commented, “The funding for these projects will help teenagers across the UK experience the thrill of creating digital technologies – from apps and games to robots – rather than just using them.  There’s a big potential pay-off to be won from greater digital confidence and skill; not just for the young people themselves but also for our ever more digital economy.”

"Right now is one of the most creative moments in history," said Mark Surman, executive director of Mozilla, "and we're thrilled to be partnering with Nesta and Nominet Trust to take advantage of it. The Web gives us all a chance to be creators, makers or inventors. This campaign is all about looking under the hood, taking things apart, and shaping how they work. It's about no longer being just a consumer of the world - it's realizing that the world is ours to make."

The seven successful projects will become part of a wider campaign and consortium of organisations – led by Nesta, Nominet Trust and Mozilla – which will work to promote and stimulate digital skills on a national scale. As part of the campaign, a free online platform - www.makethingsdostuff.co.uk – that will give young people the tools and support to make and share digital things, will be launched at the end of May.