Nesta, Scouts and Alan Turing
The 23rd of June 2012 marks 100 years since the pioneer of computer science, Alan Turing, was born. This centenary is a timely reminder of Britain’s heritage as a computing nation.
Over the last six months there has been a ground-swell of activity (catalysed in no small part by Nesta's Next Gen report) aiming to ensure that our next generation is taught about the importance of computer science; that they are equipped to make rather than simply consume the digital technologies of the 21st century.
The proposed changes to our schools' ICT curriculum are only part of that picture. At Nesta we believe that the principles of computational thinking and other digital making skills are not only important, but also fun to learn outside of the classroom.
As part of a new programme of work, we're partnering with the Scout Association to bring digital making skills to their network of 400,000 young people around the UK.
Over the course of this year we will work closely with the Scouts Partnership Team to ensure that creativity through computer science, computational thinking and interaction design is rewarded as part of their staged ICT badge.
Through happy coincidence the Scouts' Cub and Beaver jamboree is taking place this weekend - on the 23rd of June. What date could be more appropriate to celebrate our new partnership? Working with the great teams at Technocamps and RadioWaves we are running digital making activity workshops for 5000 of Scouting's younger members in a field in Gilwell.
Elsewhere, this weekend sees the launch of Mozilla's Summer Code Party. Nesta has worked closely with the Mozilla Learning team in the UK to help devise and test their Thimble Webmaker projects that we hope will provide a fun and useful tool for young people attending code parties and learning the basics of HTML.
With so much going on this weekend we can only hope that the next Alan Turing will find some of these activities and be inspired.