Students create digital tools to solve problems

by CDI Apps for Good
Vetted

After months of hard work, the Apps for Good winners are now at the last stage of the product development process. All seven apps, which solve specific problems within the students’ communities, look professional and are functioning efficiently. With the digital products in their final design and testing phase, we are excited to announce that they will be officially launched onto the market in January.

It’s an incredibly exciting and rewarding moment for the seven teams who won the Apps for Good competition back in June. Working alongside professional developers, the students have been committed to the building of their product right from the conception of the app idea through to the creation of the final designs and branding strategy.

Throughout their Apps for Good journey, each student has developed a range of invaluable skills and learnt some vital lessons. The winning team of the People’s Choice category, a group of four 14-15 year old boys who have developed a Social Bank app to make saving and managing money fun for young people, have explained how they learnt to always be ready to pivot ideas and alter tactics throughout the process. During the course, the Social Bank students pursued a different app idea for several months before receiving advice from an Apps for Good Expert on the high number of other similar products already on the market. At a late stage, therefore, the team of boys changed direction and began working on another digital product – the winning Social Bank app. Not only learning how to pivot ideas but furthermore creating business plans, leading marketing strategies and gaining key technological skills have been cited as huge benefits of the Apps for Good course and post-development process. 

The real ownership that the teams feel over their digital products is also clearly evident. The students were instrumental to the professional production of their app; creating mood boards to send to the developers, giving feedback on all the designs and functionality and always having the final word on how something should look or work. Furthermore, all the marketing, branding and business strategies behind the app were the work of the students themselves. Nearly all teams have created their own websites and have begun exploring various channels to advertise their upcoming apps and build a potential customer base. A team of girls who are creating the Pockupation app, which helps young people locate jobs for pocket money in their community, have organised market research within their area and even secured a press article in their local newspaper to raise awareness of their upcoming product.

As a result, when their app is publicly launched in January, the students can feel proud to have become leading innovators and entrepreneurs, creating and owning a new digital product on the market. 

Since the Apps for Good Awards in June this year, the winning teams have been busy developing their apps. Throughout the summer and into the new school term, the students have been working hard with professional developers, learning how to transform their idea into a real working product.

Each winning team has met with professional experts to discuss further all aspects of the final app. The students have received specialised advice on how to tweak the design, functionality, marketing and branding of their app in order to produce a feasible product that meets the needs of their target market.

Most teams have now created a landing page for their app and are linking this to an email communications system and social networking sites in order to launch and then manage their marketing strategy. The students are also learning how to use online analytics tools so as to better understand their potential audience and build a more targeted marketing campaign as a result.

In all, the student teams have learnt important business skills and sharpened their appetite for the technology world. One of the students from the team producing the ‘Social Bank’ app has explained how he felt the post-competition process has completely “exceeded” his expectations as “working with the experts is amazing” and he has described the whole experience as “incredible”.

The range of different types of apps currently being developed by the student teams is huge. Amongst others, there is an app to encourage owners to keep their pets healthy, an app to guide children through tuning their instruments, an app to help those with learning disabilities and Alzheimer’s disease and an app to support young people looking to develop their creative writing skills. Keep an eye out for these apps on the market when they are officially launched in January!

Winners
Winners' workshop

On June 11th 24 teams competed in London at the Apps for Good Awards, presenting their ideas to a panel of experts for the chance to get their apps professionally developed. The competition was open to the 5,618 students from 97 schools across the UK who took the Apps for Good course in 2012-13, the finalists on the day were selected from over 400 team app submissions. All were blown away by the quality and creativity of the projects and choosing the winners was a huge challenge.

The finalists competed in six thematic categories:

  • Power to do More: Getting the most from your time
  • Keep Moving: Doing things on the go 
  • Our World: Encouraging sustainable and healthy lifestyles
  • Learning and Information: Helping others learn and using information for good
  • Connected Communities: Using technology to unite interests, ideas and good causes 
  • Saving, Spending and Giving: Making the most from your money 
The winning app ideas offered a wide range of solutions and opportunities for users, these included an app to help people with learning difficulties and Alzheimer’s plan their daily routines, an app that allows farmers to track and manage information about their cattle. and an app that helps teens find odd jobs to earn pocket money.  As well as pitching their ideas to our expert judges on the day, our students had the opportunity to watch talks from some of the UK's most exciting tech thinkers and entrepreneurs. In the run up to the event, they got to prepare for their moment in the spotlight by spending time in cutting-edge start-ups in London, getting a close-up look at how tech businesses work from the inside. The awards serve as inspiration for the whole Apps for Good community, students, teachers and experts. To find out more about how the day panned out and the excllent app ideas put forward click here.
Students develop their ideas
Students develop their ideas

Links:

David from Beat the Book
David from Beat the Book

Award-winning UK students unveil their mobile apps to investors and tech experts 

 December, London:  UK teens are leading the charge into innovative app development, according to seven groups of students who launched their mobile apps at the Apps for Good marketplace at BT Tower.

 Seventeen-year-old Mahjabin created an app with her classmate Janna in a bid to help her mother and grandmother learn more about growing plants.

 “My family care so much about their plants but don’t really know where to get information from – we thought by creating an app that brings the information to them quickly and easily we could improve their lives,” said Mahjabin.

 “Through the Apps for Good course we’ve learned all kinds of technical skills like user interface design and coding as well built our skills in everything from talking to a room full of investors to ways to project manage large and difficult projects – which helps even in preparing for A-levels.”

 Thirteen-year-old Kordaine, whose team’s app Promise Keeper is set to help young people build better relationships with their parents, has set himself a goal to ensure everyone he meets downloads the app.

 “Promise Keeper solves the issue of parents not keeping their promise – we want our app to help not just people we know but also people all over the world who want to fix this problem,” he said.

 The seven apps launched were:

  • Beat the Book - an app that uses gamification to encourage students to read and has been produced by a boy from St Matthews Academy with Injoit and sponsored by Nesta.
  • Feelings in a Flash - a communications app that helps teenagers track, share and deal with their mood or feeling and has been created by two girls from Blackheath Computer Club with Plant Pot and sponsored by Nominet Trust.
  • Mapp Your Way - app that helps students navigate their way around a large school using QR codes and was produced by five students from Wildern School with Codeten and sponsored by BlackBerry.
  • Weather Birds - garden watering app that instructs users based on weather predictions and has been produced by two girls from Central Foundation Girls’ School with Fuerte International and sponsored by Thomson Reuters.  
  • Promise Keeper – an app that allows two parties to track commitments and has been developed by five boys from St Matthews Academy with Put It Out and sponsored by Omidyar Network.
  • Oyster on the Go – proof of concept app that shows information from TFL based on an individual Oyster card and was developed by four boys from Featherstone High School with Novoda and sponsored by Barclaycard.
  • RMBme - a highly customisable reminder app that uses images and has been developed by four girls from Reading Girls’ School with Service2Media and sponsored by Dell. 

The apps, available today on Google Play and BlackBerry App World, were created over the past 12 months by student teams in partnership with some of the world’s leading tech companies, businesses and developers as a part of the Apps for Good Awards and programme. The apps were chosen from a competition entered by more than 1,200 students across 50 UK schools in 2012.

Apps for Good students also received coaching on the day from games heavy-weight Ian Livingstone, Apps for Good board members social and innovation guru Charles Leadbeater, and angel investor and former MD of LinkedIn Europe, Kevin Eyres.

Apps for Good is reaching out to schools across the UK to deliver the free course, and is seeking more industry experts to help guide the teachers and students.New experts can apply on our new online platform: http://network.appsforgood.org/ 

Bob Schukai in Scotland!
Bob Schukai in Scotland!

We have just launched our online platform, a powerful tool for online/remote volunteering. Please check it out on http://network.appsforgood.org/.

Our experts are at the core of what we do. They give feedback on our students' ideas, give masterclasses on various topics and mentor groups of students (remotely or face-to-face).

Last week Bob Schukai, Global Head of Mobile at Thomson Reuters, just flew in from New York and did an amazing expert visit at Wick High School in the very north of Scotland (see map). Here are some impressions from his visit:

“You don't have to be an expert in mobile technology to be in the program. All you have to do is listen, guide, mentor, and give constructive feedback. On my last trip to Wick, Scotland, I had the chance to personally meet with 53 kids taking part in the Apps For Good program. The kids are responding to the challenge to make Britain the best and most competitive place in the world for future entrepreneurs. Take the time to help them make this a reality!”

No worries, you don’t have to travel to Scotland to get involved (even though you might!). The default mode for an Expert feedback session is a Skype video call. Here is our tried and tested format:

1. Introduction (10 min): Expert explains professional background & area of expertise; teacher explains learning journey of student teams so far and shares profile of the teams & school

2. Pitches + Q&A (15 min - 60 min): Each student team pitches their app project/prototype build and a Q&A session with the Expert follows (we’d say maximum an Expert can engage with are up to 5 pitches and Q&A before running out of steam...)

3. Final feedback (5 min) by Expert on issues that are common to all student teams

What are you waiting for? Register as an Apps for Good Expert now: http://network.appsforgood.org/..

The Apps for Good Team

Links:

 

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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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