Pre-Covid, our Prewired coding club operated on a face-to-face basis with close interaction between young people and volunteers within a safe space. Thanks to funding from the Creative Informatics Resident Entrepreneur programme, we have been able to embark on the challenge of recreating that experience in an online environment. We call this new initiative Prewired++.
Goals of Prewired++
Here are the key goals that we set ourselves when we started Prewired++:
Identify and shape an online platform — using existing technologies — to support Prewired activities in an online format. The platform will need to support communication and sharing in flexible fashion while also ensuring child safeguarding and data protection.
Develop principles and practices for building a vibrant and inclusive online community which encourages creativity, autonomy, mutual respect and teamwork. Prewired++ should offer an online environment which encourages creativity and independence while not compromising on child safety. We know that it’s not enough to provide a technology platform — this must be complemented by innovative techniques which makes the experience engaging and welcoming to a diverse audience of young people.
Make use of the platform by designing and delivering an extended, online version of our annual Summer Hack — now called The Emporium of Digital Delights. Young people will work together in teams over several months to develop a digital project of their own design. We expect to hold weekly online sessions in which short discussions for the whole group are complemented by breakout rooms for the teams. Exploring digital arts and data visualisation will be important new components. The hack will culminate with a show- and-tell and prize-giving event, open to parents and mentors as well as team members.
Increase our social impact by scaling up and scaling out beyond the current audience for Prewired. We know that digital skills need to be offered in an inclusive way to a diverse group of young people and we want to be at the forefront of this effort. To help us, we will be co-opting experts in diversity and inclusion as well as working with pivotal outreach organisations across Edinburgh. We will also look at metrics to evaluate how well we are doing and so that we can share our learning in an evidence-based way.
Develop and try out sustainable business models that allow us to for continue Prewired++ after Creative Informatics funding has ended. As a part of this, we plan to build a portfolio of shareable resources that distil the successes and challenges we encounter during the progress of the project.
In the course of the project, our Advisory Board will help us become more inclusive in reaching out to a wider audience of young people. We will also establish a partnership programme with third sector organisations so that by combining our expertise, social engagement approaches and outreach activities we can together substantially broaden the digital skill opportunities for young people in the Edinburgh region.