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Exa celebrates International Youth Day with Digital Skills Fair

Over the past two weeks, we’ve hosted a Digital Skills Camp for young people in Bradford. Today,  on International Youth Day, participants will present the work they’ve done to family, teachers and local businesses.

The programme aimed to help participants learn about how digital communication and tech can be used as a force for good to help tackle climate change.

The Exa Foundation has been working with schools for seven years to inspire digital learners, and promote careers in tech. In addition to The Exa Foundation’s Learning Programme, we also run events for young people in the local area. The Digital Skills Camp is an example of this, and has been organised by Alan O’Donohoe, a former teacher and our Specialist Leader in Education. 

Alan identified a need to let young people develop digital skills beyond the curriculum and planned this event with that in mind. Participants could choose from their own interests to help inspire them going forward. While some attendees had coding experience, some had limited contact with Scratch and Python. 

On Monday 1st August, participants for the Camp arrived at Exa HQ, and after a few icebreaker sessions, they were asked:

What can you develop, change or build to:

  • Change people’s perceptions
  • Change people’s behaviour
  • Practically affect the environment

During the Camp, participants had access to Raspberry Pi and microbit devices, as well as  mentorship from Alan and other members of staff at Exa. The Camp encouraged freedom of thought and expected participants to think independently. Attendees came up with their own ideas, in a safe learning environment.

Three groups emerged, with different opinions and ideas on how to help the environment. Some key projects are:

Mission Save the Planet

The game shows people what the world would look like in 20 years if people continue to litter.

The Hill House Of The Future

This project encourages people to start building and living in hill houses as they are cheaper to use and help the environment in many ways. 

Ecocraft (Minecraft Sustainability Edition)

A Minecraft game coded from the ground up, based on collecting trash and putting it into the correct bins for points. This helps shift thinking and reinforce good habits.

Laptop Refurbishment

This project proves that not everything needs to be thrown away – even if it is broken. Participants took 14 broken laptops marked for landfill, and refurbished them into six working Linux systems.

Air data logger & air quality alarm

Air data logger: Displays a chart which tells you the temperature and the eCO2 in a space, with the hope of monitoring and improving on this.

Garbage Bomb

This game encourages people to recycle the correct items with failure resulting in explosive consequences!

Greenhouse Gas

This project demonstrates what our crops will look like if we don’t change our habits and tackle air pollution.

Each project takes a slightly different approach, and really shows the skills and creativity of the Camp’s participants. We’re so proud of their achievements that we’ve invited parents, teachers and local businesses to come see what these young people can do.

The Digital Skills Fair will run between 10:15 and 12:15. The impact of the Camp has been immense. Because of the Camp, three participants can now take home their own Linux laptop, refurbished from old, broken hardware. Also, after learning Python, participants are able to take home a Raspberry Pi computer to further their skills at home.

These two weeks have been a fantastic showcase of young talent in the city, and we hope to host similar events in the future. Keep checking back for updates.

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