Students create digital tools to solve problems

by CDI Apps for Good
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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
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.
Alejandro demonstrates BOOKd to Fellow Jashvanth
Alejandro demonstrates BOOKd to Fellow Jashvanth

As we move closer to spring, Apps for Good looks set for another successful year powering a new generation to change their world with technology.

Whilst our hugely enthusiastic students are still knocking it out of the park with some really impressive Apps, one particularly special thing about 2016 is that it's our five year anniversary!

We began delivering our programme to only 34 students in two centres in London in 2010/11. Over the past five years we have grown within the UK and internationally and are now delivering in over 850 schools worldwide and have positively impacted over 50,000 young people! This rapid growth has enabled us to inspire students to use technology creatively and open their eyes to the wealth of opportunity tech and entrepreneurial skills can bring. This has been our core focus for the past five years, and will continue to be for the next.

Besides continuing to deliver the Apps for Good programme, we also have big plans for the future; we want to continue developing into a truly global movement, introducing students to problem solving with technology all over the world. Some of our goals for the next five years include:

  • Increasing the number of centres delivering the Apps for Good course to 2,200 by 2020 - we want to maintain and grow our reach in schools within the UK and expand the number of institutions working with us internationally.
  • Giving former Apps for Good students the opportunity to continue to develop their problem-solving technology products and help expand the Apps for Good movement by strengthening and growing our Fellowship programme.

Growing our reach over the last five years has been a great achievement, but it could never have happened without the dedication of our teachers, experts and funding partners. We want to celebrate those relationships and the achievements of our students this year by running a fifth anniversary social media campaign using the hashtag #AFG5years. The campaign began alongside our 2016 App Launch on February 4th and saw over 1,500 related Tweets and millions of potential impressions across social media on the night, further drawing attention to the wonderful digital creations the winning student teams were presenting at the launch and the wider Apps for Good movement.

The event itself was a great success. It took place in an excellent location at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park that brought together a truly diverse room of students, fellows, teachers, parents, experts and corporate partners all sharing ideas and praise for the fully developed products the students have created.

It was an evening of forward thinking with a focus on progress in technology education, spearheaded by speeches from Apps for Good Chairman Charlie Leadbeater, Founder and co-CEO Iris Lapinski, Chair of the London Legacy Development Corporation David Edmonds and last, but by no means least, Apps for Good Trustee and Fellow Mohima Ahmed.

Representatives from our Fellowship Community were no small help in making the evening a success; several former Apps for Good students attended the event to talk to our guests and raise awareness about how participants of the course can continue to develop their new found interest in technology after completing the initial Apps for Good journey.

We have so many people to thank that have helped us to get this far and deliver the impact that we have, but we would like to extend a special thank you to all those who have donated through Global Giving and particularly the money raised by the people at Nokia and VMware. Without vital fundraising like this we may have never made it to five years delivering Apps for Good, and events like our App Launch may never have been able to go ahead.

Your continued support is so valuable both to us as an organisation and the students that receive the Apps for Good programme. Make sure to tweet with the #AFG5years hashtag, and stay tuned for our annual awards this June 20th!

The My World of Atoms Team present their App.
The My World of Atoms Team present their App.
Apps for Good Fellows Josie and Habibah
Apps for Good Fellows Josie and Habibah
John from One Click Politics discusses his App
John from One Click Politics discusses his App
David Edmonds, Chairman, London Legacy DC
David Edmonds, Chairman, London Legacy DC
Apps for Good Fellow & Trustee - Mohima Ahmed
Apps for Good Fellow & Trustee - Mohima Ahmed
Hasan from weKonnekt discusses the app.
Hasan from weKonnekt discusses the app.
Clodagh & Isaac from GardenKing present their App.
Clodagh & Isaac from GardenKing present their App.
The Assemble Jobs team present their app.
The Assemble Jobs team present their app.
The MySoundClash team prepare for the event.
The MySoundClash team prepare for the event.

Links:

On Ada Lovelace Apps for Good, Capgemini and Tech Partnership are teamed up to launch the TechFuture Women’s Network. In this report, Apps for Good’s co-CEO Debbie Forster explains how the Network seeks to tackle the gender imbalance in the technology industry.

Ada Lovelace Day is an international day to celebrate the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and for us it’s the perfect time to look towards the next generation of women in STEM. We are proud to team up with Capgemini and the Tech Partnership to launch the TechFuture Women’s Network, an initiative which will use the energy of female role models to alter perceptions of the industry, and help to build a more diverse and tech savvy workforce.

We’re asking women working in the digital and technology sector to join the TechFuture Women’s Network, a community of professionals taking part in programmes that promote technology in schools.

We’re delighted that the first opportunity available to members of the TechFuture Women’s Network is to join our Apps for Good Expert Community. Members of our Expert Community share their skills and knowledge with our student teams as they develop ideas for apps – getting loads of energy, inspiration and new perspectives in return.

Industry role models can be an important part of careers advice and this is especially true for technology. The technology sector is complex and constantly in flux, so it can be difficult to get beyond job titles. Having someone visit the classroom or connect online and speak about their day-to-day job or how their company works can widen students’ perspectives. This is especially important for your female students. Although uptake of computing A-levels by girls has increased this year by around 45 per cent, they lag far behind boys, making up just 8% of this year’s A-levels (that’s only 456 girls or 0.1 per cent of the entire A-level cohort). Part of the problem is that girls still see computing as ‘geeky’ and ‘male’, but you can help counter these stereotypes by establishing female role models for both your male and female students. This will contribute towards a new “norm” in the eyes of both genders and help the girls who then make these choices feel more accepted. We hope that the increasing number of women who join our Expert Community via the TechFuture Women’s Network will help us establish this new norm.

Over the next few months the Network will grow to include more opportunities for TechFuture Women to mentor and inspire young people by showing them the range of opportunities within the technology sector. By joining the Network here you will automatically become an Apps for Good Expert as well as receive updates and invitations to future initiatives. We look forward to working with you to inspire the next generation of women in tech!

The Who Cares? Team - People
The Who Cares? Team - People's Choice Winners

As September rolls around again, we are gearing up for another academic year delivering the Apps for Good course to over 23,000 students all across the UK. Our latest innovation - the Mini-Course - is now available to all our education partners and offers greater flexibility in when and how to deliver Apps for Good, as it can be completed in just 10-15 hours!

This year we are really focussing on educator recruitment and spreading our reach even further across the UK. We think we have really moved on from just speaking to the early adopters of the tech education movement and, as the importance of tech skills reaches mainstream consciousness, we are channelling more resources into reaching the "early majority" of schools.

Our latest impact data shows that constant dialogue with our educators and students is really paying off. Satisfaction, skill improvement, and interest in technical careers reported both by our educators and the students themselves have increased since last year (87% of our educators and 93% of our senior school management said they liked the Apps for Good course).  If you know any educators who might be interested in delivering the course, please spread the Apps for Good word. They can find all the information they need – here!

We are excited to announce this year’s winners of the Apps for Good Awards which took place back in June. The winning teams are now busy working with Rachel, our resident App Developer, and professional development agencies to take their ideas from the prototype stage to a fully-fledged version ready for release onto the market in February next year. You can check out the winning ideas – here!

As students return to school and dive back into their lessons, our educators will begin requesting Expert sessions again to get tech professionals directly involved in the classroom and helping with tricky aspects of the course. We rely on our network of Apps for Good Experts to volunteer their time, knowledge and experience to keep our students motivated and to help them to progress faster. At the same time the direct connection between professionals and students helps build bridges between the classroom and industry.

As an Expert you can volunteer as much or as little as you want, signing up to our sessions as and when you can and delivering them to our students over Skype or Google Hangout. If you would like to find out more, check out the Experts page – here!

Finally, a big thank you for all your support over the 2014/15 academic year – we couldn’t have done it without you!

Our Finalists receive a standing ovation
Our Finalists receive a standing ovation
The GardenKing Team at the Awards Marketplace
The GardenKing Team at the Awards Marketplace
 

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Organization Information

CDI Apps for Good

Location: London, UK - United Kingdom
Website: http:/​/​www.appsforgood.org
Project Leader:
Sophie Ball
London, London United Kingdom

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