|1 April 2016|


Young pioneering girls studying at schools from across Scotland’s capital have created an app to enhance the city’s tourist experience.

As part of a project to get more women into digital careers 36 girls from seven schools in Edinburgh created an historical guide app to build on the wonderful range of services available to tourists visiting this stunning city.

The S3 girls (13/14 years) created the app over three days to experience the life of a working technology professional with the aim of inspiring their interest in digital career options.

The project was run by Edinburgh College in partnership with Historic Environment Scotland and local tech firm Global Treasure Apps as part of the national Girls into Digital scheme. Girls into Digital has been set up to encourage more women to enter digital careers which is a growth area in Scotland with many job opportunities.

The girls were tasked with creating an interactive treasure hunt app to give tourists further insight into Trinity House Maritime Museum in Leith. Over the course of the three days the girls received training in digital skills, went on information gathering visits and were supported to develop the app themselves. The app includes trails which offer location-based multi-choice questions that take you on a tour around a city or attraction leading to a reward at the end. For example, you can go into an attraction’s giftshop to claim a money-off voucher or reward badge.

Lorna Ewan, Head of Visitor Experience, Content and Learning at Historic Environment Scotland, said: “We’re pleased to have supported this innovative project. The pupils’ research into Trinity House’s history and its fascinating collection enabled them to design and create this new app. It will also allow visitors to explore and discover more about this treasure house of artefacts as well as Edinburgh’s rich maritime history and heritage in a new and engaging way. It’s also fitting that this initiative has taken place in Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design.”

Game based learning on location is a billion pound per year industry and growing at 10% per annum. The skills these young women learnt are the types they will need when starting to look for work in fast-paced digital technology industries.

Business Development Executive at Creative Exchange Madeleine Brown said: As an award-winning digital entrepreneur Frances O’Neill and her all-women team at Global Treasure Apps are the perfect role models who show that digital is not just for men. The girls were interested to learn that digital careers can be challenging, creative and rewarding – and fun. Learning how to code at school is a great way to make a start and demystifying code can show that anybody can learn the basics.”

Principal Annette Bruton said: “The development of this app and successful partnership working provided these girls with a fantastic opportunity to experience a day in the life of a technology professional and I think this initiative clearly demonstrated to the next generation of young women that a career in digital technology is one they can identify with and see as a serious option in the future.”

Girls into Digital is an initiative by Skills Development Scotland with partners Microsoft Scotland, Standard Life, Edinburgh College and Heriot Watt University to inspire and engage girls to take up digital careers.

Edinburgh College, in partnership with Skills Development Scotland and industry partners are working together to better understand the barriers to women in pursuing digital careers and are jointly looking to develop interventions which aims to address the gender imbalance in the technology sector in the future.