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Published on November 3rd, 2014 | by Alison McCandlish


Celebrating Youth Work Week 2014- empowering digital creators

The Commonwealth Secretariat and National Youth Agency are running ‘youth work week’  this year from 3rd to 9th November, designed to celebrate the positive work which people who work with young people, and young people themselves, do around the theme of ‘skills for life’.

The Digital Commonwealth project is all about developing digital media literacy skills and throughout the last year we have been working with young people in schools and youth groups all over Scotland to deliver workshops in blogging, video, audio and social media based around exploring the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and the wider Commonwealth themes of people, place, culture and exchange.

We thought that Youth Work Week would be a lovely opportunity to showcase some of the wonderful work which young people have produced as part of the project; these all demonstrate and highlight some of the many skills for life which have been gained as part of the process of helping people to create their own online content rather than just ‘consume’ other people’s work, especially with the learning opportunities around a major event like the Commonwealth Games. Here are just some of the many project examples.

Teamwork and collaboration skills
Many school clusters worked together on transition initiatives to make moving between primary and secondary school easier. Pupils worked as small teams or as a larger class group to collaborate on a common project, taking on different roles to help make the project work, as can be seen in this work in Burghead (Moray Council school cluster).

Here the Oban High school cluster, which has the largest geographical catchment area in Scotland explore their ‘Commonwealth’ of schools: 

Friendship and Social skills

Pupils worked with new people from other schools and also new staff (trainers, teachers, support staff). Friends worked together to help each other with projects. Logic and planning skills Planning out and understanding the steps to create digital work formed part of every Digital Commonwealth project, here an example from Dumfries and Galloway Council shows how pupils looked at creating a short film through storyboarding and exploring the software.

Communication skills
Expressing opinions in class workshop groups and with others on a one to one basis, and connecting with others through social media were an essential part of every project. This also provides opportunities for learning how to deal positively with feedback (for example where comments are left on blogs, as in this example between Rothesay Primary and the Yell cluster)

Being able to create content rather than just ‘consume’ it is a big part of digital communication skills, we helped nurture this through the workshop content and encouraging schools to share ideas and content online, and we also held a Glow Meet for teaching staff who were interested in taking part so that they could share ideas and ask questions about how the project worked.

Learning to interview (developing listening and questioning skills) was important, in this blog post you can see Sanderson’s Wynd Primary School exploring this,  and the Tweet below shows Kirkton of Largo Primary School in Fife also learning about this:


Learners could gain confidence in taking their own project idea and making it work, trying out different software and apps and experimenting to make something which they were proud of. Many learners did reflective blogs to show their work in progress and some produced photostories which traced their learning throughout and how they used digital skills in school (as in this example from St Paul’s in Dundee). Gaining confidence to make your opinion heard by creating content and posting online, as well as knowing how to be safe was also important part of the project.

Employability skills
Travelling to new places and new schools on time was all part of the process for many participants where there was a cluster of schools working together. In the Highlands Council area, Eigg and Muck primary schools worked together, here Eigg primary describes their journey to Muck on the ferry and by foot

Many of the learners were able to get an insight into career opportunities using digital media and STEM skills by working with trainers who are creative media practitioners and experts in their field (for example an award winning DJ, BAFTA winning filmmaker or part of an award winning multi-disciplinary creative studio team, and interviewing people who worked on Glasgow 2014 technology projects)

Many schools had the opportunity to learn about professional sporting skills and how they apply to everyday life and future jobs (for example sportsmanship, persistence and dedication, healthy living, teamwork etc) through studying the Commonwealth Games as many worked with Game On Scotland and were able to request interviews with athletes! St. John Ogilvie primary school in North Ayrshire interviewed Lee McConnell and created a Digital Commonwealth video

Citizenship and community skills

Many projects involved working with others from outside the school and gaining an appreciation of the importance of their community and the contributions made by individuals and groups into helping create it. Here pupils in East Lothian created a short film about life in North Berwick, through interviewing and working with some residents of the town, set up by STRiVE who work on intergenerational projects in East Lothian).

DC – Place with a view from Room 8 Studio on Vimeo.

Newark Primary learned about other Commonwealth countries by exploring interactive storytelling and graphic novels with the Inverclyde Community Development Trust.

Curiosity and research skills

These skills were a huge part of Digital Commonwealth! St Athanasius Primary in South Lanarkshire explored the theme of ‘place’ and were finding out more about their local history through taking part in the Pits, Ponies, People and Stories project.

Research skills were developed when looking at Commonwealth countries, finding out more about researching athletic achievements and new sports for example this Muck primary pupil blog  about rugby in Wales and Craigour Park Primary made a video poem about Barbados

As the project was framed around the Commonwealth Games, this led to a sense of developing curiosity and questioning about the effects of big sporting events on communities and individuals (as in this example with Pirie park Primary, Glasgow):

All of the Digital Commonwealth project learners made creative content, in some cases promted by being set a specific challenge (a Positive Paisley photowalk)  or by experimenting and exploring their chosen class theme.

Inchinnan Primary and Ayr Academy showed off their drama and roleplaying skills with an exclusive interview with Usain Bolt:

Learners in the Western Isles created local history videos incorporating Minecraft creations of the castle in Barra and other constructions which they had made themselves, then narrated the videos.

Falkirk Council cluster schools created their own musical compositions, here is the Swaziland rap and a blog  from the Falkirk ICT Curriculum Development Officer on this process.

Some schools used the Commonwealth as a basis for cross curriculum activities; here is an example blog of home economics and creative cookery integrated with a Digital Commonwealth project in the East Ayrshire Council area.

Some schools explore the wonder of games for learning about the Commonweath, making a board game and Top Trumps Game, blogging about how to make it and how to play.

And more…

Handbook of Digital Storytelling

If you are interested in finding out more about how we have used digital storytelling to help young people develop skills for life you might like to view or download our free Handbook of Digital Storytelling.

Why not explore the projects which we have carried out on our interactive map?

Find out more about Youth Work Week and the many exciting projects throughout the Commonwealth by following the hashtag #YWW14 on Twitter.

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