Students share innovative work at Scottish Learning Festival

Two Edinburgh College students took the stage at Scotland’s biggest gathering of education professionals to talk about how they’re inspiring young people to be creative. And the pair of Graphic Design students got to tell deputy first minister John Swinney all about their project.

Students and staff from Edinburgh College attended the Scottish Learning Festival 2017 and delivered seminars to audiences from the country’s education community on engaging young people in art and design and inspiring young people to learn digital skills.

Nineteen year-old HND Graphic Design students Niamh Curran and Holly McNie presented the Graphic Design Ambassadors project – a project conceived and delivered by the pair. This involves them going into schools to work directly with pupils in art and design classes to give them the benefits of their own creative and education experiences.

Niamh and Holly also shared details of their Day Dream Believers course – developed as part of the project – which offers a unique opportunity for secondary school pupils to spend a week at the college participating in a number of workshops across different design disciplines and meeting employers from design agencies.

Graphic Design lecturer Helena Good, who delivered the seminar with the students and discussed continuing professional development opportunities for secondary school teachers in Creative Industries, said:

“The Scottish Learning Festival provided a fantastic opportunity to share the work the college is doing to better facilitate and strengthen the important links between schools, colleges and employers in Creative Industries. It was also a great experience for our ambassador students to showcase their project to a varied audience. The college encourages students to take part in events such as this to develop their skills. We had a lot of interest in the project from the audience following the seminar and hope to build more partnerships as a result.”

As part of the Inspiring Young People into Digital Skills seminar, Edinburgh College Computing curriculum manager Sam Blyth presented the Codespace CSI project, a pilot scheme developed by the college to engage school pupils in digital skills.

The project involves pupils learning and using a variety of digital skills to solve a fictitious crime.

Sam was joined by former Edinburgh College lecturer Madeleine Brown and Frances O’Neill from the local tech company Global Treasure Apps, which makes clue based treasure trail apps for visitor attractions locally and globally – including high profile Historic Environment Scotland attractions such as Edinburgh and Stirling Castle.

Frances described the Global Treasure App project which gives pupils an opportunity to gain experience of working on a real live digital project for a client.

The project involves students creating a treasure hunt app for Historic Environment Scotland.

Computing curriculum manager Sam Blyth said:

“We received great feedback from audience members on the day and spoke to representatives from schools, both nationally and internationally, who are keen to find out more about the projects. The need for digital skills is growing by the day and it is important that we as educators are inspiring young people to learn more.”

The Scottish Learning Festival is the annual conference and exhibition for the teaching profession in Scotland. This year’s event took place at the SEC Centre in Glasgow on Wednesday 20 and Thursday 21 September.