This week, I travelled from Ayr, on the sunny west coast, through to Cupar in Fife for St Columba’s Primary School World of Work Week! So far, the children had been introduced to an architect, the army, the RSPCA and had visited the Amazon Warehouse. On Wednesday, it was my turn to present to the children the digital world with creative workshops throughout the day.
Each lesson kicked off with an introduction to After Digital and boy were the photos of Noodle a hit amongst the pupils! They were also excited that the industry offers opportunities to travel and work with people all over the world. However, I was shocked at how knowledgeable all the children were of coding, social media, advertising and even the more complex digital technologies; such as virtual reality and artificial intelligence.
As we kicked off discussions about digital technologies, each class told their stories of what they ask Alexa to do, using virtual reality gaming at home and borrowing their sibling’s phone to use Snapchat filters. To round off the session, I set the pupils a task to design something that uses artificial intelligence or augmented reality to help the community. The winning teams received After Digital steel water bottles and bamboo pens; it was humbling just how eager they were to win and excited to get stuck into the task.
While some came up with games inspired by Minecraft and Call of Duty, others designed robots that would keep their grandparent’s company by singing songs and making conversations. Some of the winning ideas included robotic glasses and clothing that would help people with disabilities feel what it might be like to play sports alongside athletes like Mo Farah and Andy Murray; this idea also incorporated the use of virtual reality! I also saw an idea for a robot called Howie that helps children complete their housework and chores. My favourite idea of the day came from a group of 11-year-olds who designed an augmented reality robotic fashion suite aimed at helping people pick their outfits each day!
Lunchtime came, and I was treated to a complementary school dinner of lentil soup, a baguette and cookie! It was very nostalgic - thank you to the dinner ladies who put this together for me!
As the day was drawing to a close, I was absolutely exhausted. Huge shout out to teachers all over the world who do this – Every. Single. Day! The last group of the day were the P7’s – the oldest age group in the school. Although the content stayed the same, the lesson was completely different. When it came to the task, the children were thinking laterally more than any other group of the day. They used the materials provided to make prototype mockups of their ideas – they were extremely creative!
I was totally blown away by how creative, intelligent and digitally minded each age group were throughout the day!
It was a joy to work alongside the staff and pupils at St Columba’s and I hope they are inspired by the opportunities the digital industry has to offer.