New scouts badge helps young digital makers to 'be prepared'... digitally
Today Nesta and the Scouts Association launch the new Digital Maker badge - bringing digital making skills to their network of 400,000 young people across the UK with a focus on creativity through computational thinking.
The new badge
Nesta believes that digital creativity, along with other digital making skills, are not only important skills for future jobs and personal agency in an increasingly digital world, but also fun to learn outside of the classroom.
After consultation and testing with The Scout Association, volunteers, youth members and technology experts, Nesta has developed resource packs to help Scouts achieve the Digital Maker Staged Activity Badge, at stages 1 and 2. Packs are accessible from the Nesta partnership page of the Scouts website as PDFs and are designed to be a fun introduction to how technologies work, including technologies that can be tried at home. A great example is 'Sandwich Bot' - how to program your scout leader to make a jam sandwich.
Over the past three years the Digital Education team at Nesta has been working to help mobilise a generation of young people with the confidence and know-how to make things with new technology – whether websites, apps, hardware, games, animations or brand new innovations using technology to solve problems. With the introduction of a new computing curriculum in England (and one already in place in Scotland) the time felt right to rework the original Scouts staged IT badge to include skills that involve manipulating technology, as well as just navigating it, while remaining accessible to all skill levels.
Nesta's research into digital opportunities for young people, our 'Young Digital Makers report – Surveying attitudes and opportunities for digital creativity across the UK', which also launches today, found that 83% of the children (aged 8-18) surveyed by Nesta had made at least one thing with digital technology, and 82% said they are actively interested in it. Parents are hugely supportive too - 89% surveyed thought digital making is a worthwhile activity for their children. The activities available through the Digital Maker badge will go a long way to support this hive of interest and ensure that creativity through the process of computational thinking is fostered and rewarded.
In the coming months we'll continue to work with the Scouts Association to get feedback and learnings from scout leaders as they incoorporate the new badge into their sessions, and will soon be seeing the results sewn onto the sleeves of the boys and girls displaying their newly acquired digital skills.