About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Digital creativity in Scotland

Last year Nesta ran four digital creativity events for young people where they made moving sculptures with Arduino kits, created game characters using Python on Raspberry Pis, edited films, created podcasts and webpages and much more.

This year Nesta has been funded by the Scottish Government to increase the number of young people using digital creativity in schools. We feel the main way to do this is to support teachers to gain the skills and confidence they need to run digital creativity projects in their class.

What is digital creativity? It covers a lot of different areas of digital making including the media literacy/moving image education areas of computer animation, multimedia, stop-motion animation, audio, video and still image. It also covers the computing/computational thinking areas of coding, mobile app development, games development, web development, 3D modelling, physical computing, web and social media skills, and information and data skills. I would love to have a dialogue with others about this!

Our anticipated problems this year have been reaching the teachers and finding a time for CPD that suits them, identifying the skills they would like to learn and helping them implement their new skills in class.

We have identified three models of CPD that we are trying out this year. We are working with an evaluation partner (Laurie O’Donnell) to look at the effectiveness of each model in terms of impact on young people and the cost-benefit ratio.  

CPD events – the one to many model

This model involves running a whole day CPD event on a Saturday with a number of workshops for teachers to choose from. Each workshop has up to 18/20 participants. This is modelled on the One Day Digital events run for young people last year with similar workshops. We have run one event in Edinburgh that was very well received. We will be running workshops in Aberdeen as part of the Aberdeen Learning Festival. We plan to run events on Saturday 10 May in Glasgow and Saturday 31 May in Dundee (these are provisional dates but put them in your diary now!).

School clusters – the one to one (or one to few) model

This term I am working in schools in Edinburgh and East Lothian working with the teachers directly. I am working in eight schools – five primary schools, two secondary schools and one special school. I am working with teachers that have either been identified by the head teacher or have volunteered to be involved. Everyone seems very enthusiastic, which is great! What has been interesting is it isn’t necessarily the ICT specialist teacher in each school that has been chosen, there is a mix of abilities and confidence in the teachers involved.

After Easter, when the Nesta support in the schools ends, we are hoping that the teachers will either share their new skills with other teachers in that school or swap skills with other teachers involved in the project. If a teacher has learned animation or games design, hopefully that teacher can swap skills with teachers in another school to learn video editing or bookmaking. So far the teachers involved have been very keen for this skill-swapping to happen, which is very positive.

Geographic hubs – the few to few (or many to many) model

One thing I am very aware of is the issue of reaching every teacher in Scotland who wants to be involved in the project and gain additional digital creativity skills. Not everyone lives in handy commuting distance of a city. We need a model of CPD that is more accessible.  

What we are going to try is a hub model, where small groups of people come together regularly (perhaps monthly). They will share skills, support each other, get talks from presenters or workshops in new skills. It will be planned and led by the participants – they will choose what skills they want to develop.

Next year I also hope to find a way to expand this to an online model as well.

More detail about the school projects

Edinburgh Council

Braidburn Special School – secondary class

The class are going to make a book about Edinburgh to share with their twin schools. They will be taking photographs, writing stories and creating art work that will be scanned into a design package. The finished product will be a printed book.

Oxgangs Primary - two P5 classes

The Oxgangs P5s will be making animations about space using a program called Scratch. The pupils will write a script, plan a storyboard, draw characters and backgrounds, scan them in then programme them to move around and speak at the right time.

Pentland Primary - P6/7

The P6/7 class will be learning how to make computer games and then design and create their own game. One of the best ways of doing this is using Scratch, which would mean Oxgangs and Pentland teachers can swap skills!

Colinton Primary - P6

The P6 class are also starting a Space topic. They will be making and editing a video. They will plan, script and storyboard it, film themselves doing a news report then editing in footage from NASA or other archive space footage.

Firrhill High School 

A few projects are being discussed in Firrhill including a digital mapping project in geography and possibly a photography or video project in art.

East Lothian Council

Ross High - English department

The English department want to use green screen equipment they already have in the department. They will learn how to use it to film news/weather reports and replace the green colour with an image. A film producer will be coming in to train the staff in filmmaking and green-screen techniques. The teachers will then be trying out their skills making adverts with the S2 classes and doing the BBC Schools Report with a group of pupils from S1-6.

Pinkie St Peter's Primary - P5/6, P6, P7

The Pinkie teachers will be learning how to use Scratch for animation and games design to support a pirates musical project.

Wallyford Primary - P4

The P4 teachers are learning how to do stop-motion animation to make short films and audio editing to make a soundtrack. The pupils will be making short animated trailers about the books they are reading as part of a literacy project.



Kate Farrell

Kate Farrell

Kate Farrell

Digital Education Manager, Scotland

Kate worked with Nesta’s Scottish team to support Digital Education across Scotland. She helped to organise One Day Digital, professional learning events for teachers on digital creati…

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