North Ayrshire Council
DigiDabble was created when our Lifelong Learning Team decided to reach out to communities to show that libraries offer a range of activities and services other than books. As there were tech resources, games and a gifted 3D printer, it was agreed to create an event which showcased the range of resources available. At the beginning the main objectives were to provide STEAM activities, promote family and intergenerational learning and give access to sometimes very expensive equipment to families in areas of multiple deprivation.
A partnership with the Youth Participation and Empowerment Team (YPET) was developed after highlighting the project during a training event. After discussions between staff a partnership agreement was drawn up. The YPET service agreed to increase the range of resources to include Virtual Reality, retro gaming, table top gaming, 3D design and coding. YPET would also recruit young volunteers from existing youth work provision to attend the events and engage with community members.
DigiDabble is delivered as a pop up event in local libraries throughout North Ayrshire where each service brings along their own expertise and a range of resources. The events are simple to run, mostly ensuring the equipment is set up properly and works within different venues (technology doesn’t always do what you want it to). The events are well publicised through posters in local facilities and through social media. Throughout the events there are plenty of staff available to engage with the community, answer questions and demonstrate equipment. Participants then go round the venue and get an opportunity to be hands on with any of the resources while being supported by a staff member or youth volunteer.
Our project brings together a massive range of tech resources such as 3D printers, Virtual Reality gaming, Virtual Reality video and photography, electronics, BBC Microbits, Raspberry Pi, Augmented Reality, Osmo, retro games consoles, modern consoles, Makey Makey, Sphero and various other robots. These are the most popular resources, we have a variety of other interactive iPad apps and tech toys such as Anki overdrive.
The most important resource however is staff, especially our youth volunteers who have been invaluable to the project.
Evaluation takes place through staff members’ individual action plans to ensure we are meeting local and national priorities (building confidence, decrease social isolation, promote STEAM activity). Feedback gained from participants has been fantastic and we have gathered a huge amount of impact statements. Comments all include participants’ favourite activities using very positive language, staff members also receive extremely good feedback. Our youth volunteers also provide some very valuable feedback about how the volunteering role has helped increase their skills and abilities.
This practice has brought many benefits to our organisation’s youth work, most importantly an opportunity for our young people to volunteer in the community making them more active citizens and feel like valued community members. We also promote all other youth provision during events and we have seen a marked increase in the use of libraries and attendance at youth clubs. All volunteers have increased confidence and self-esteem and are less socially isolated.