CoderDojo comes to Ayrshire

School pupils from all over Ayrshire attended the first ever CoderDojo event in region at Ayrshire College’s Kilwinning Campus on 25 November 2014. CoderDojo is part of a global network of free computer coding clubs for young people. At the college session, young people from 8 to 17 years old learned how to code and develop games in a fun and social environment. It was so popular that the College will be hosting further dojos at our Ayr, Kilmarnock and Kilwinning campuses in the next few weeks!

Big dojo thumbs-up from 8-year-old Lita Rosa and 10-year-old brother Giuseppe

There are many benefits to the club. Young people gain first hand exposure to what a career in ICT offers, while developing the skills and confidence they need to become a great programmer in a safe, fun and sociable environment. As well as staff mentors at the College, the project involves ICT students acting as mentors.

Loraine Johnston, Curriculum Manager for Business and IT said “We are really excited about running the first Ayrshire CoderDojo at the College’s Centre of Excellence for Computing in our Kilwinning Campus. I first heard about the club at an event in Edinburgh and thought it was a great way to help get young people interested in coding and bridge the skills gap in the computing industry in Scotland, the UK and Europe.”

Young people changing our digital world

CoderDojo clubs promote computer science and technology in a fun, thought-provoking and inspiring way, and encourage young people to consider studying computing at school, college or university. They raise awareness of the rewarding opportunities available in the rapidly expanding ICT and digital technologies sector.

Craig Steele, CoderDojo Scotland Project Manager at the Glasgow Science Centre said “We are very excited to bring CoderDojo to young people in Ayrshire. It doesn’t matter what your level of coding is. You may be a beginner wanting to learn the basics or you may have some experience and be looking to hone your skills! Young people at our dojos have coded their own games, apps and websites so we are eager to see what creativity and skill we can find in Ayrshire.”

Glasgow Science Centre Chief Executive, Stephen Breslin said “The IT industry is growing rapidly, at a much faster rate than any other sector, but the uptake of studying computing science at school and college is on the decline. CoderDojo is an active learning opportunity where young people can equip themselves with knowledge and skills to pursue careers in the sector.”

Ayrshire College will continue to work with CoderDojo to bring this exciting activity to more young people. Who knows, we may find the next Mark Zuckerberg right here in Ayrshire!

Could you be a CoderDojo mentor?

The driving force behind CoderDojo Scotland are the volunteers and mentors with a technology background who want to inspire the next generation of digital content makers. If you are a computing teacher or professional software developer living in Ayrshire and want to volunteer as a mentor, contact Loraine Johnston for more information on 01294 559000.

You can find out more about CoderDojo at



Bringing assessment up-to-date with the ways people learn

Ayrshire College’s new look learning technology team has been working with Hospitality curriculum staff to introduce eAssessment into SVQ qualifications through the virtual learning environment Moodle.

One of the team, Stuart Milligan, describes a pilot project which aims to showcase these online assessments to other curriculum areas in the College, and highlight the ease and efficiency in how they are prepared and used.

Why use e-Assessment?

When we think about traditional and current assessment methods, is there really any justification for just doing what we’ve always done? We now perform daily tasks like banking, shopping, communicating, watching TV and taking photos using devices at our fingertips. Yet many still think education can’t be digitised. Well, we know it can!

Another reason for going digital is to be considerate of the environment by reducing our carbon footprint. And a college can make a difference by saving paper through eAssessment! Look at how much paper is saved by our hospitality students alone –

40 students x 15 assessments x 5 sheets of paper per assessment = 3000 sheets of paper!

Before and after! Hospitality Lecturer Graham Headland with Learning Technologist Stuart Milligan

How will e-Assessment benefit students?

Lecturer Graham Headland said “Using Moodle is a simple way of bringing assessment up-to-date with the way of studying. Students are embracing Moodle. From my point of view, I have no big folders to mark – all assessments are in the one place, they are easier to track and they are available 24/7. Ultimately, it gives our students more time where they want to be – in the kitchen!”

Hospitality students will benefit through e-Assessment in many ways, including –

Receiving results quicker – Moodle’s ability to automatically mark answers means that students can receive their results without having to wait for their lecturer to mark their (and everyone else’s) assessments.

Quicker feedback – Students will receive feedback on correct and incorrect answers almost immediately after receiving their marks. Wouldn’t that be handy for identifying areas that you might need to improve on? Have you ever queried a wrong answer and had to patiently wait to speak to your lecturer for an explanation? With eAssessments you don’t have to.

Available on mobile devices – Just as Moodle can be accessed on mobile devices, so too can online assessments. Who would have thought that education could be at your fingertips after all?

Colleges Innovation through Technology – eAssessment (CIT-EA) project

Ayrshire College is working in partnership with City of Glasgow College on a JISC-funded project that aims to identify and address barriers to the uptake of eAssessment.

The CIT-EA project aims to drive future development through a sector wide eAssessment implementation plan, piloting this year with HN Business. Two members of staff will take part in the project and they have exciting plans for rolling it out to lecturers across the College and place us at the cutting edge of eAssessment in the college sector.

Watch this space for more exciting news on learning with technology at Ayrshire College!


Angela Alexander – the Ayrshire star who just keeps on rising!

Since this blog post was first published, Angela has won another national award! On 27 November at the College Development Network Awards Ceremony she won the Student Contribution Award. Here she is showing off her win with proud Principal Heather Dunk.


Friday 7 November was a special day for Ayrshire College Student President Angela Alexander.

At a packed ceremony in Kilmarnock’s Grand Hall, she started the day by graduating in HND Coaching and Developing Sport. Next, she picked up the award for Sports and Social Science Student of the Year. Then, at the end of the ceremony, East Ayrshire Provost Jim Todd awarded Angela the prize for Overall Student of the Year for the Kilmarnock Campus.

Angela Angela showing off her win Student of the Year wins

Finally, topping off a hugely successful day, she won the SQA Star Award for College Candidate of the Year at a glittering ceremony at Clyde College in Glasgow! Even by Angela’s high standards this hat trick of awards on her graduation day was a spectacular achievement.

Angela with her SQA Star Award 

Angela is no stranger to success. On 4 June this year, she was one of three winners at East Ayrshire’s Active Schools Volunteer of the Year Awards Ceremony for her community work in a local primary school. Less than a week later she helped Ayrshire College win the Volunteer Champion Award at Sport Scotland’s Scottish Student Sport awards ceremony, the only 5 star winner in that category!

IMG_0691.JPGAngela, 2nd from left in the middle row, proudly holding her winner’s shield

Stellar role model

Angela is an outstanding role model – for her own children, fellow students and the school pupils she volunteers with. She is a fantastic ambassador for Ayrshire College and we are delighted she was elected to serve as as one of the College’s three Student Presidents this year.

Next year, Angela is going to university to complete an Honours Degree in Sport Studies with a view to becoming a teacher or sports lecturer. Given that she excelled in her academic studies at college and that she has shown she is a seven star performer, we have no doubt she will continue to shine!