CILIPS Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland
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Case Study on ‘DigiDabble’ – North Ayrshire Libraries

The following case study was provided by Alison McAllister, Systems and Support Officer, North Ayrshire Libraries

North Ayrshire Libraries’ Lifelong Learning Team have been engaging families and members of the community with their DigiDabble events in local libraries. Following last year’s widespread public consultation, which resulted in agreeing new library opening hours with communities, the team wanted to provide a fresh range of activities in libraries through pop-up events on Saturdays concentrating on digital participation for everyone. DigiDabble provides a communal toolbox made up of software including Osmo,  a game system that changes the way children interact with iPads by opening it up to hands-on play and enhances learning in literacy, numeracy, creativity and coding; Makey Makeys, where you can play carrots (yes, carrots) and other everyday objects like keyboards; Code-a-Pillar and Code and Go Robot Mouse which teach simple coding skills to pre-school children;  Tiggly words, shapes and maths using the iPad to teach literacy and numeracy to younger children, as well as Marbiotic Smart Letters and Magik Play which combines different learning challenges for the iPad with the simplicity of traditional toys. Our app enabled droid BB-8 and SPRK+ coding ball have also been a big hit.

The Scottish Government recently gifted a 3D Printer and training programme for each library service so DigiDabble days are a great opportunity to promote this new service. The events to date have attracted around 650 children and adults, including a number of boys and dads, as well as teenagers who were thoroughly engaged in the digital animation taster sessions on offer. Everyone attending has been attracted by the new digital tools and the chance to try something new. The most recent event at Largs library included the North Ayrshire Youth Services team delivering a range activities including Sony Virtual Reality, Anki Overdrive racing game and 3D augmented reality colouring app Quiver. A local Gamers group came along and showcased their Super Mario Cart skills and The Scratch Club demonstrated coding using Raspberry Pi and BBC Micro-bit. A true partnership event!

DigiDabble supports the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and maths) agenda but more importantly it will help increase social and digital inclusion as well as building skills and confidence.  Interest has been growing in local schools with a series of sessions arranged for classes to participate in the new technology.

DigiDabble video – https://youtu.be/FrqL-i2m068

Feedback has been extremely positive:

“I was baby-sitting my two grandchildren age 5 and 9 at the weekend and I took them along to the open day at the library. They both had a fantastic day and found the staff to be really helpful and explained all the different areas to them.”

“We had a fantastic visit! The guys on the vr headset were brilliant with the kids, especially with my unsure 10 year old. She was soon joining in! Lots to do for all ages, even our 7 month old. Thanks to all!”

“What a fantastic morning we have had! Hope to see more of these events in the future. Fantastic!”

“Fantastic set-up. Amazing to see the 3D printer and the children thoroughly enjoyed coding and animations. Would love to see this as a regular workshop/kid activity in our libraries.”

“Really loved this event. Something to amaze and engage all ages. Thanks to NAC Library Services for such a brilliant event.”

“I would recommend this session to other schools and stages within my own school.  It was interesting to see types of technology that are available. Thank you for the afternoon, the children thoroughly enjoyed it.”

The project won the Digital Award category of the Edge Awards on the 2nd of March.