The Chelsea Foundation’s Digital Blue programme was celebrated recently with more than 600 children benefitting from the education initiative during the past two years.
For the past two years the unique Digital Blue initiative has sought to bring science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields to students by using the lens of football to inspire the children involved.
That trend continued recently as Stamford Bridge hosted a Robot Football World Cup for a number of local schools who have participated benefitted from the programme.
The tournament had teams of children coding electronic footballs, or Spheros, to score goals, requiring group communication and perseverance to outscore the opposition.
Coding is a skill that is very difficult to master alone, an idea which Ruben, a 10-year-old student from Queen’s Park Primary, emphasised
‘I have learnt that in robotics you need to use teamwork because if one person cannot do something there is always another person to help them out,’ he said.
More than just teaching the schoolchildren vital coding skills that will be useful for their futures, Rob Johnson, the deputy head of Frogmore Junior School, believes that Digital Blue helps his pupils on a human level too.
He said: ‘In school the children are generally more quiet and studious but when it comes to the robotics we see a completely different side to them.
‘They come out of their shells, have lots of fun, and really challenge each other to improve and solve coding problems.’
In addition and continuing the Foundation’s partnership with VEX Robotics, who together have launched several Girl Powered events over the last year aimed at raising female participation in STEM fields, a handful of the teams attending the tournament were all-female. Females are traditionally under-represented in the STEM world, so initiatives like these have an enormous impact.
And in a summer when women’s football has massively increased in popularity, Johnson believes that these events also help to encourage Frogmore’s female pupils to join the hype.
He added: ‘Their knowledge of the game has definitely improved since we have started working with Chelsea. For the students to be inside Stamford Bridge, aware that the Women’s World Cup was taking place with a number of Chelsea players participating, it has exposed them to something they did not know existed.’