As part of its commitment to actively support digital education in Jersey, Digital Jersey is creating a Digital Learning Hub where Jersey students will be able to learn technical skills in an environment that also prepares them for employment within a year of leaving school.
It is hoped that the Hub will provide a much-needed boost to the numbers of young people equipped to join Jersey’s growing digital sector. The Digital Learning Hub will have two distinct user groups: students still at school and those who have left school. School leavers will use the Hub during the day, interacting with startup companies and learning to solve real problems for real businesses.
For school students, Digital Jersey took a lead from Professor Stephen Heppell's open discussion in May, where he encouraged the community to engage children in shaping the way they learn, by hosting a workshop where students were asked to describe what they would like to see from a learning space that would promote digital skills.
Students expressed a real desire to be taught by industry professionals with a passion for the subject matter. In addition to this, students wanted to learn about a wide range of digital subjects. The feedback they provided included:
- Students want a consistent space accessible outside of school.
- The environment must have completely unrestricted access to the Internet.
- The Hub should be designed to accommodate students bringing their own devices, as well as having hardware and software not typically available to students at home.
- The culture should be informal and students should be treated like adults.
- Those teaching should be industry professionals with a passion for the subject matter and an understanding of what skills are relevant in the workplace.
- The Hub website should employ gamification mechanics, allowing students to track their progress easily and compete with their peers.
- Subjects should include everything from web development to understanding Facebook’s business model and computer programming.
Based on this feedback, Digital Jersey has also now started to ask digital companies what their employment needs are, to establish what technical skills would be useful. These businesses cover areas such as software coding, web development, digital media, and animation, and Digital Jersey will be asking all of the island’s digital businesses to consider how they could commit to the island’s future by supporting the Hub.
The Digital Learning Hub will launch in the first quarter of 2014, initially with the sessions taking place in schools around the island. As the Hub develops, sessions will take place in the new facilities and content will be closely aligned with the school curriculum.
Ted Ridgway Watt, CEO of Digital Jersey commented:
“I am delighted that this initiative has been so well received by students, and that we can support and encourage their engagement in learning. Our Digital Learning Hub will create innovative opportunities and I am excited to see it grow to become an integral part of our island’s talent pipeline. I am also looking forward to engaging with industry professionals who have taken an interest in this project and want to support and facilitate modern education.”