When it comes to young people’s digital skills and online safety there’s such a wealth of organisations and resources available that it can be difficult to know where to start. We know we want to work together with our local community to enhance the digital literacy, safety and creativity of young people – but how do we do this effectively?

On Monday October 22nd we hosted a community focus group to share ideas for our new Children and Young People programme. We had parents, educators and community professionals around the table to discuss opportunities and ideas from all angles.

We began the session by setting the scene, sharing some of the findings from our research and outlining our proposed themes and strands: education, safety, and creativity…

  • We believe all young people should receive an education in computing and so we want to support local schools and teachers in delivering the computing curriculum using resources from Barefoot and Computing at School. 

  • We want young people to understand the safest ways to interact in the digital environment so we want to link with schools and community groups to share online safety information from expert organisations such as ParentZone and South West Grid for Learning. 

  • Our research to date shows that giving young people the opportunity to use technology in a creative way will engage and enthuse them so we want to create extra-curricular opportunities, for example a Code Club, so young people can experiment with technology in new ways. 

 After presenting our findings and ideas we asked attendees to talk in groups and prioritise which initiatives we should run for teachers and pupils in local schools, parents and carers in the home and the everyone in the local community. It was agreed that we should work in partnership with local established groups to deliver information and activities.

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We discussed a wide variety of possibilities, including messaging through established brands and campaigns such as Microsoft and Safer Internet Day. We discussed the power of social media influencers and the potential to connect with those such as Zoella to act as role models for young people’s online behaviour. We shared ideas for projects such as the development of a young people’s digital festival in partnership with other community organisations such as Corsham Youth Zone, Pound Arts and Springfield Campus. This could be held to coincide with Safer Internet Day 2019 and include workshops for game-making, code-breaking, and animation.

Such an approach would see Corsham Institute supporting community hubs to host events which allow young people to interact with technology in a practical and creative way to highlight the positives of the digital world.

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The research we’ve carried out so far shows that young people are keen to have opportunities to interact in a more creative way with technology so it’s exciting to be able to offer these experiences. We will work with the community to develop projects we can rollout in partnership, ensuring they are user designed so that they work for the young people in the area and give them the chance to engage in new and inspiring ways with digital technology. We aim to empower them, and those around them, to use digital technology in positive and creative ways. If you would like to get involved or support this programme please contact us via info@corshaminstitute.org