CDI Apps for Good

Apps for Good works to power a generation to change their world with technology. We want to transform education to help young people become tech creators and digital makers, so that they can thrive in a tech driven future. We achieve this by working with teachers to create a new kind of learning - one that's rooted in real world learning and driven by the students themselves. While doing the Apps for Good course students move through the full product development cycle of an app, from concept to coding to launch and in doing so learn how to solve real world problems with technology.
Nov 18, 2016

An Exciting End to 2016 at Apps for Good!

Scottish Apps at the Apps for Good Awards
Scottish Apps at the Apps for Good Awards

Temperatures are dropping around the UK and the summer holidays seems a long time away as schools are deep into a new academic year. Whilst students and teachers were away from school this summer, Apps for Good took the time to develop and release a new educator platform, vastly improving the way that we connect with over 850 schools across the UK. 

Our new Dashboard doesn’t just look sleeker, it’s packed with information, tools, lesson plans, CPD training and more  to help make sure that delivering Apps for Good is as straightforward as possible for teachers. There are so many ways in which a better online platform for teachers expands our impact as an organisation. Examples of this are: 

  • Improved monitoring and evaluation - our new platform collects crucial information that can be analysed to further broaden and deepen our impact whilst being better able to identify and address challenges with our model, making Apps for Good a more agile organisation better able to adapt and stay at the cutting edge of what we do. 
  • Improved user experience for teachers - whilst the last version of our educator dashboard was effective, our new look platform is not just more appealing visually but is built on what we have learned from teachers around what they need from the tool. It is now easier than ever for teachers to access course materials.
  • Improved interfacing with the Apps for Good Expert Community - it is now easier than ever for educators to connect with our Expert Community, allowing more students to recieve feedback and advice on any of the topics covered on the Apps for Good course. 

For a more indepth look on our new Educator Dashboard, please take a look at our blog.

We are also delighted to announce that we’ve received a grant from Digital Xtra, funded by the Scottish Government Digital Skills Business Excellence Partnership, to help us grow our after-school activities in Scotland.

If you’ve known us for a while, you’ll definitely have heard of Wick, a town in the Scottish Highlands where Apps for Good-famous teacher Chris from Wick High School has had more teams win our UK national awards than any other school or learning centre (you can see some of the students’ apps here and here). We think the future of tech isn’t in London or San Francisco, but in Wick – and places like it all over Scotland.

Because of Chris and enthusiastic teachers like him – such as Liz at Boroughmuir High School in Edinburgh and Claire at Lochdonhead Primary School on the Isle of Mull – great networks like Stemnet Ambassadors, and organisations that include Coder Dojo and Code Club, we’ve grown from 5 schools and learning centres in Scotland in 2012/13 to 133 last year. Along the way we’ve been able to connect to a vibrant ecosystem of businesses, universities, schools, libraries, government and other non-profits who are all coming together to help young people learn the digital skills they need to succeed in the 21st century.

You can read more about recent developments in Scotland here.

In other news, two of our winning teams, I'm Okay and weKonnekt, had the chance to vist the Radio 1 Extra studios last month after being shortlisted for the Make it Digital award at this years Radio 1 Teen Hero Awards. The teams had a great experience meeting famous DJ's and got the chance to work with a BBC producer and professional camera crew to produce a video for Radio 1's YouTube channel!

For further updates on everything that's going on with Apps for Good, please visit https://blog.appsforgood.org 

An example of our new educator dashboard
An example of our new educator dashboard
weKonnekt and I
weKonnekt and I'm Okay at the BBC

Links:

Aug 23, 2016

Apps for Good nominated for GamesAid & Other news.

Ben and Rebecca - Creators of My World of Atoms
Ben and Rebecca - Creators of My World of Atoms

Apps for Good is delighted to announce we have been nominated for GamesAid! Until the 5th of September this year, games industry professionals and affiliates will be voting to decide if Apps for Good will receive a GamesAid grant. GamesAid is a UK charitable organisation that seeks to harness the talents, creativity and enthusiasm of games industry professionals to raise money for a number of smaller charities that are working to help children and young people.

Each year GamesAid members come together to select grant recipients from a group of shortlisted charities. Apps for Good has been selected alongside 18 other worthy causes to be in with a chance to receive a GamesAid grant to support our work. Apps for Good has a strong track record of working with developers in this space, and the impact that we make through schools is helping to create a pool of talent which can support the work of a thriving global games industry. By opening the eyes of students to the wealth of opportunity in the technology and entrepreneurship fields, it is lighting the path for young people to move into industries such as gaming while simultaneously helping them to develop the skills, knowledge and opportunity required to succeed in an increasingly tech driven world.

A popular creative direction taken by students studying our course is to create games with a social purpose, for example helping others learn through gaming. Apps for Good Award winners CryptoConnex (2014)  and My World of Atoms (2015) are both excellent examples of fantastic student apps in this area. CryptoConnex was created by a team from Hymers College, Hull to help people learn cryptography and code-breaking. My World of Atoms, the brainchild of brother-sister team Ben and Rebecca from The Boswells School, Chelmsford, helps students learn about the periodic table through a fun adventure game based on finding and combining elements to complete a collection. With inspiration from Minecraft and Pokemon, Ben and Rebecca won Gold in the Mobile App category at the 2016 Essex Digital awards for their efforts.

Students from our growing Fellowship Community are already using the skills and experience to pursue careers in gaming. 16 year-old Jashvanth from London is one of our most active Fellows and has taken advantage of what the Fellowship has to offer in order to learn from industry professionals. Last summer  the skills Jashvanth gained as an Apps for Good student and Fellows helped him secure work experience with a games development company and learn more about the industry.

Ensuring that all of our former students have the opportunities available to them to follow their interests, expand their skills and inspire others is the central goal we are trying to achieve via the Fellowship Community. If we're lucky enough to receive a GamesAid grant we will use it to focus resources on strengthening the impact that we have on our Fellows. It would allow us to leverage the great connection we have with tech firms and industry professionals, to build a varied and interesting pipeline of activities for students, continue building their skills,  find mentors and gain valuable experience.

If you or someone you know is a games industry professional or affiliate who would like to support us over the coming weeks, go ahead and sign up to GamesAid! A polling card will be sent afterwards via email where you can find more information. Voting for us is a great way to support Apps for Good and help us continue our mission. 

In other news, our Fellows have been put through their paces in a really successful careers work experience day at the offices of our partner SAP. Students were able to test their problem solving skills with an idea generation session around using SAP software to solve problems around the theme of sport and the olympics after learning about the future of tech and further opportunities to develop their skills.

It was great to see a diverse group of former Apps for Good students engaging what they have learned so far in this event, and we hope it will be the first of many to come in the coming months. 

We are looking forward to the start of the new school year at Apps for Good, with schools across the country both returning and broaching new ground with Apps for Good signing up to deliver the programme over the 2016/17 academic year. Our course content continues to develop alongside our online delivery platform, and as a result we are hoping that we can deliver the most valuable and eye opening Apps for Good course ever!

Jashvanth answers questions on a Fellowship panel.
Jashvanth answers questions on a Fellowship panel.
Students plan their solutions at the SAP workshop.
Students plan their solutions at the SAP workshop.
Fellows pitch their ideas to judges at the SAP day
Fellows pitch their ideas to judges at the SAP day
May 27, 2016

Building up to the 2016 Apps for Good Awards -

The WeKonnect team present at Wembley Arena!
The WeKonnect team present at Wembley Arena!

In the three months following the launch of last years winning apps, Apps for Good students, staff, Education Community, Expert Community and Fellowship Community have been working hard building up to next months big event: The 2016 Apps for Good Awards. 

During March, students across the country were finalising their app ideas ready for submission in April, whilst our previous winners and Fellows have been developing their ideas further and spreading the word about their award winning creations, most notably the WeKonnect team who won the People's Choice Award powered by Essence in 2015. The winning students from Denbigh High School in Luton presented to a massive audience at this years We Day celebrations at Wembley Arena on the 9th of March. WeKonnect is an App to help build a support network for young carers to share their experiences and provide easier access to information around a challenging issue that many children across the country have to muster the courage to deal with every day. We are very proud of what the WeKonnect team has achieved, going from strength to strength since their app debuted at our App Launch this February. 

Equally as impressive,  2015 Apps for Good Award Winners Ben and Rebecca who created "My World of Atoms", a mobile game that is an accessible platform for children to learn chemistry, picked up Gold in the Mobile App category at the Essex Digital awards. Ben and Rebecca have been working hard on taking their app a step further, releasing My World of Atoms on the Apple App store this April after securing funding for it's development. 

It's been a busy time for Apps for Good in the past weeks and the next few are going to be even busier! Throughout April we worked in conjunction with our Expert community and our corporate partners to shortlist a very strong body of entries down to 15 finalists for categories sponsored by Samsung, Thomson Reuters, Salesforce, The London Legacy Development Corporation and SAP. We have some excellent apps this year which will make for a great event. All of this years finalists are listed on our website

As well as some very creative app ideas with topics such as healthy eating, access to culture for disabled people and helping young people cope with loss, we are also honouring six influential members of our Fellowship Community who have been tireless in their efforts to expand their ideas and aspirations, inspire and mentor students on the course and engage with industry. Have a look at this blog for more information on each of these rising stars.

Your continued support has been influential in allowing all of this to happen and will be a strong contributor in making this years Apps for Good Awards the best yet! We are very excited for the event, and whilst the coming weeks will mean hard work for all involved, the result is always a fantastic day where all of the communities that make Apps for Good great come together to acknowledge the ingenuity of some inspiring students with some excellent ideas.

The stage is soon to be set for another celebration of the next generation of technologists, intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs.

My World of Atoms
My World of Atoms
Ben and Rebecca win a Gold EDA award.
Ben and Rebecca win a Gold EDA award.
 
   

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