During the 2014 summer, Future City Glasgow gave hundreds of children throughout the city a taste of programming.

Children and young people from 5 to 17 year old got involved in a range of activities during drop-in sessions, workshops and summer camps.

During walk-in sessions, younger children played with the concepts behind computing.

The older ones attended 5-day summer camps and one-day workshops covering a variety of topics:

The materials are published open source so that anyone can use them: as a learning tool whether you attended or not or as a planning tool so others can organise similar initiatives.

“Today’s young people are the innovators of tomorrow and these days, even as toddlers, children begin playing with technology like mobile phones or tablets. We hope to harness children’s natural thirst for knowledge by introducing them at an early age to skills which will serve them well in later life.”

Glasgow City Council Leader Gordon Matheson

The future makers

The ‘Future Makers’ initiative is an exciting prospect: Glasgow’s diverse pool of talents makes a project like Future City Glasgow possible. ‘Future Makers’ plants the seeds so that future projects of similar scale and innovation can take place 5, 10 or 15 years down the line, draw on an even wider pool of expert resources and create economic opportunities for all.

Empowered generation

Children and young people grow up with technology informing every aspect of their lives from phones to tablets and wearable sensors. Coming to grips with these technologies is the first step towards being able to question, reflect and lead on how we may use technology in the future. By empowering young people to participate in developments might there be a chance that they also feel confident to get involved in other facets of the city?

Breaking barriers

Inviting children as young as 5 gets the conversation started within families, invites parents to discuss technology and, for the tech-savvy among them, share their knowledge.

It is also an opportunity to break down barriers: coding isn’t just for boys, people good at maths or with computers… coding is for everyone. Children with varied talents and personalities might approach technology differently, and every unique viewpoint is valuable. Whenever a new point of view is considered, there is potential for innovation.

“Glasgow is proud to be at the forefront of technology applications through its Future Cities and sustainability agendas. Having a skilled workforce is crucial to retaining a competitive edge and people have always been Glasgow’s greatest asset. By providing free coding classes for youngsters we are creating opportunities which could fuel an existing interest or highlight an aptitude which could lead to an exciting profession in later life. This not only benefits the city’s economy but is also great for innovation and individuals.”

Glasgow City Council Leader Gordon Matheson

The Future Makers programme was unlike any other offered in Scotland before. The young people were invited to learn new skills, use the latest computing technology and meet experts in the field. This was done in a social environment that nurtured creativity and encouraged development. For many participants, a long lasting passion for technological innovation has been fostered.

The Future Makers programme is a collaboration between Glasgow City Council, Coderdojo Scotland, The Glasgow Science Centre and Glasgow Life.

CoderDojo Scotland is part of a global collaboration which provides free coding clubs for young people. Children can learn everything they need to become a great programmer whilst providing a safe, fun and sociable environment.

Click here for part 1 – Plan a Future Maker Event