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Case Study

Young Digital Researchers

The Young Digital Researchers (YDR) was a project which set out to capture the views of children, young people, their families and others living in Communities First areas (e.g. people living in some of the most deprived regions of Wales). We worked with schools in 3 different Communities First clusters to get them to become research active in their own learning. The YDR project allowed the pupils/parents and community members to undertake research about issues that directly affect them.

Our research suggests that 98% of all those children and young people involved in the YDR project gained at least one new digital skill

The YDR project was a partnership between Welsh Government, Save the Children, Communities First and us (Big Learning Company). It began in April 2015 and was funded initially for one year in 3 CF cluster areas from Welsh Government’s Communities First Shared Outcomes funding. The long-term aspiration of the partnership was to provide every Communities First school in Wales with their own team of YDR as a way of raising educational attainment and the future aspirations of all children living in poverty in Wales. 

At the start of our research, each YDR Research Team focused on a different aspect of the Welsh Government’s/Communities First, “Learning Communities” agenda which tackles the poverty-education gap. Importantly, the Welsh Government has made reducing the “poverty/educational attainment gap”; a national priority for schools in Wales.

Supported by Save the Children and Communities First (CF) Delivery Teams the pupils and ourselves  worked with residents, community organisations, business and other key agencies, and undertook hands-on, enquiry-based, research that offered potential to improve the sustainability and wellbeing of the communities we live in. As many local people as possible were involved in all aspects of this work and this was an essential feature of the YDR project.

The Young Digital Researchers used “Digital Literacy”  and “Enquiry-based Learning” skills to enhance their investigations.

This project provided the CFC’s with an important opportunity to undertake their own research and implement new methods of enquiry-based learning in schools (and communities across Wales). In addition, the project placed digital technology at the heart of the research activities. It supported students across all Key Stages to focus on enquire-based research activities that were relevant to them, and the communities in which they live. Across all the research projects it introduced the use of digital technology as a new way of advancing enquiry-based learning. 

The YDR project provided a novel and engaging way to raise school/family engagement in the key curriculum areas of English, numeracy, science and technology at the same time as tackling important research questions. 

We engaged over 1000 people over the 3 clusters in our research.

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