Lomond School has welcomed a new programme that encourages people of all ages to develop their digital skills from coding and automation, to GDPR, fake news and cyber security.
As part of its commitment to lifelong learning, the online platform, The Duke of York Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award (iDEA), has been launched within the school, in Helensburgh, with the aim of encouraging pupils, staff and parents to earn digital badges that provide them with the skills that they need for the future.
The iDEA programme addresses the current digital skills gap with online modules that enhance employability through a series of challenges that earn points towards a bronze, silver or gold award.
Lomond School aims to welcome the local community to take part in the course later in the year, with pupils who are confident among certain modules eventually teaching the evening classes.
To launch the course, the school’s three houses, Bergius, Colquhoun and Graham, went head to head last week to achieve the highest number of badges among pupils and teachers, with pupils from primary six upwards taking part.
Digital leader boards were placed throughout the school displaying real time updates of house points encouraging competition between the houses.
In the first week alone, 158 participants completed more than 800 badges becoming tech savvy with subjects such as fake news, automation, graphic design, virtual reality and game designing.
The school, which was one of the first in Scotland to introduce a 1:1 iPad initiative, has now embedded many of the online courses within the curriculum for 2019/20 to strengthen pupils’ digital skills.
While the course focuses on technology and inspires participants to embrace new digital skills, part of the programme also looks at how to be safe online, encouraging pupils to use the internet independently throughout their lives in a positive way. Modules focusing on e-safety, online etiquette and digital ethics give young people the confidence and resilience to protect themselves when using the internet.
With parents often feeling significantly behind the curve in terms of their understanding of the internet compared to their children, the iDEA programme provides both children and their parents a platform to learn simultaneously and gives them a shared focus for discussion. Parents at Lomond School have also been taking part in the iDEA programme, supplementing the internet safety courses already offered for parents.
Dr Alan MacBeath, Head of Physics and Digital Strategy, said: ‘It’s extremely important at Lomond School to continuously work towards lifelong learning, not only for our pupils, but for staff, parents and the local community.
‘We’re really excited about the prospects offered by the course in terms of enterprise, employability and ambition to increase opportunities for all those who take part. Within 20 years, 90% of jobs will have a digital element so it’s vital that from the earliest point in their education, children are engaging online.
‘It’s hard to put a value on the importance of teaching young people how to protect themselves on the internet. We hope that the course will educate pupils from a young age to behave in a sensible way, while having the confidence to manage their online activity rather than allowing it to have control over their lives.’