The At-Bristol science centre hosted one of a series of free hands-on Digimakers events recently aimed at primary and secondary school age children. Digimakers is a Bristol University programme focused on offering fun opportunities with tech. The events have so far attracted nearly 7,000 children and parents from the South West of England.
Caroline Higgins, one of the organisers at Bristol University, said: “Our aim is to inspire the next generation of technical innovators, creatives and engineers by providing an introduction to ‘making’ in the digital world. From hacking hardware to programming software, we show young people innovative ways to have fun with technology.”
These free events, run three times a year, use accessible, open-source tools such as Raspberry Pi, Arduino, Scratch, Python, Processing and Unity 3D.
There are different hands-on workshops for children to book on based on skill rather than age, from entry to intermediate level. Workshops have included robot building, drone flying, lamp making, wearable computing, making a weather balloon, using a Raspberry Pi camera, making a synth, RoboGals and eSewing.
The sessions are run by Bristol University students, industry professionals and STEM teachers.
Digimakers also offer a roadshow to schools in the West of England to engage children at an early age, and provide teachers with the confidence and skills they need to teach the subjects in a way that inspires young people. Bristol University students visit local primary and secondary schools to deliver physical computing activities using the newly launched BBC Microbit.
In addition to this, Digimakers offers local students in year 10 and 11 the opportunity to undertake a week’s work experience.
Jo Thorn, parent of Ruby, aged 13, said; “This event really encourages children (and girls in particular) to get involved at an age when they are receptive to new ideas… potentially going on to benefit future employers and the country.”
To find out more about Digimakers visit www.digimakers.co.uk