Badge support | Digital Maker and Digital Citizen
Technology is a part of all of our lives now, especially for ‘digital natives’: young people who have grown up with the internet, and who cannot imagine a past without mobile phones, Wi-Fi or social media. Scouting equips young people with the skills they need for the future, and being tech-savvy is becoming increasingly important for employers. Our two technology-based badges, Digital Maker and Digital Citizen, are a great way to help young people develop these skills through Scouting.
Digital Maker and Digital Citizen are Staged Activity Badges. Staged badges are available to young people from Beavers to Explorers, and these digital badges have five stages which get progressively more challenging. Young people will draw on the skills they have previously learned to help them achieve the next stage of the badge. These badges involve lots of activities that can be done indoors, making them great to do during winter. And don’t worry if your Scout hut isn’t connected to the internet: lots of the activities can be done without computers or special technology.
The Digital Citizen badge helps young people develop their digital and research skills, while learning how to stay sage online. The Digital Maker badge is all about a hands-on approach to learning digital skills through creative tasks.
Here are some ideas for activities from both badges, which could be run during a technology-themed night:
You can start a Staged Activity Badge at any level, but you may find that the lower levels are more appropriate for Beavers. These stage 1 activities are great fun, and a gentle but informative way to start exploring technology. Beavers are true digital natives, having grown up within the era of the smartphone, so they already know plenty about using technology. Make sure you support young people to understand technical language when explaining activities or concepts – our jargon buster could help.
Digital Maker stage 1: robot obstacle course. Help young people to learn what an algorithm is, whilst having fun by dressing up as robots! The Beavers will guide each other through a maze using simple commands. Make sure to link this back to technology they have used, so that they understand the idea behind the activity.
Digital Citizen stage 1: master of disguise. If you want to run these two activities on the same evening, you could keep the robot costumes out. Rummage in the cupboard for some other dressing-up items, and have the section take selfies as they disguise their identities.
These stage 2 activities include some slightly more complex ideas, but are still brilliant fun. They will introduce Cubs to the language of computers and how information is stored and kept online.
Digital Maker stage 2: Learn about binary. Introduce your Cubs to binary code, the language of computers with this simple activity, which will have them decoding the 0s and 1s in no time. Once they’ve grasped it, they can use binary to find a secret word and set puzzles for each other.
Digital Citizen stage 2: toothpaste challenge. The 0s and 1s of binary put the information onto the internet in a way that makes it difficult to permanently delete or retrieve. It’s important to support young people to understand that they must be careful to stay safe while using the internet, and not to share anything digitally that they might later be uncomfortable about. This activity is a great visual representation of how hard it is to undo certain actions. The Stay Safe game is another chance to explore this message.
The beauty of Staged Activity Badges is that any section can start at any level, depending on their confidence and knowledge. If your Scouts have done electronics at secondary school, they might feel ready to really test their skills with these stage 3 activities, which will see them learning about the advanced settings on a computer and programming their own robot.
Digital Citizen stage 3: advanced settings. The young people will learn about accessibility and security when setting up a new computer. It’s important to know how to change the settings and keep your computer secure from bugs and bots. Perhaps this activity could be combined with a Community Action project - helping older people get online, or running a community repair cafe.
Digital Maker stage 3: build and code a CrumbleBot. Speaking of bots, in this activity your Scouts will get the chance to put together and programme their own little robot, called a CrumbleBot. It is a great introduction to robotics, and a chance for the Scouts to use their imagination and make their bot do what they want it to. This activity requires some equipment, which can be purchased online.
Technology can be really useful outside the Scout hut, as well as inside it. This badge can be linked with the top awards – Explorer Belt, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, and Queen’s Scout Award – by tying into activities that could be useful when planning or participating in an expedition, like thinking about how to share the Explorers’ achievements.
Digital Citizen stage 4: Explorers could create a social network profile for their expedition group. Before the expedition, this page could be used as a communication tool for them to chat and contribute ideas, as well as showing the wider world what they are planning (if they choose to). Following the expedition, It could be used as part of their portfolio of evidence, if they keep it updated with blog posts, photographs and/or videos of their latest work. Remember to follow the guidance around using social media in Scouting.
Digital Maker stage 3: make a Morse Code compass. During an expedition in an unfamiliar area, navigation is key. This home-made digital compass can remove the degree of human error that must be accounted for when reading a traditional compass. The BBC Micro:bit minicomputer is fully programmable, and can be turned into a compass which makes bearings simple.
Have a look at these other great technology resources: