Improving your Apps for Good journey: introducing our new Student Dashboard

We’re delighted to announce the arrival of our brand new Student Dashboard! What can your students expect as they get started on their adventure?

Apps for Good students in the UK can get ready to…

Compete to have their apps built and launched to market

Students can discover and enter our UK competition, where all finalists get to travel to London and winners have their apps professionally built.

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Explore the course materials and learn at their own pace

Students can explore lessons at their own pace, visiting the dashboard to watch videos, download presentations, and complete extension activities.

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Join The Fellowship

Students can join The Fellowship to access advice from tech professionals, alerts when work experiences become available, and much more.

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How do students sign up?

  • Students will need a code to register. Teachers must create a code, then ask their students to sign up using this form.
  • Former Apps for Good students can become Fellows by signing up for the Dashboard.
  • If you are an Apps for Good partner and you’re interested in a tour of the Student Dashboard, get in touch.

Questions? Email fellows@appsforgood.org

Exploring ideas and tech careers at Elstree UTC

Apps for Good Expert Sian Davies is a Business Analyst in BI and data projects recently led an Idea Generation session at Elstree UTC. Here she tells us all about the session which saw Elstree’s students sharing their creative and innovative solutions. 

I would like to impose a 3-minute rule on all office meetings; if the problem or solution which gave rise to the meeting cannot be expressed adequately within that time, then the meeting should be cancelled immediately. That’s where we started from at UTC Elstree where the team from Apps for Good had invited me to facilitate an Ideas Generation Session and to give a short career talk on my tech industry experience to a group of students. A lot of seasoned professionals freak out when I give them a 3-minute countdown. The assembled brains at Elstree took it in their stride.

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Sian Davies speaking with students from Elstree UTC

Elstree UTC is a technical school focusing on media and the arts. Meeting the students, witnessing their ambition and fire, and touring the school to view their unique facilities were highlights of the visit. Knowing that they were staying late to meet us, we all tried to keep the sessions interactive and fun – but we needn’t have worried – each of the students were engaged and lively, coming up with fresh ideas and communicating them happily to the group.

Talking to them about my experience in the tech industry was trickier to plan; what to tell them, show them, how to get across the breadth of roles and opportunities they will run into when they have completed their education, the sorts of challenges they might encounter; all of this whilst harbouring suspicions that they probably already know more about new and emerging technologies than me!

But I instinctively knew what were the messages I needed to get across because they were the ones I wish I’d had; that evolving your career through your own decisions is ok – and knowing what you want to do in your mid-career when you are 16 is not compulsory. That it’s ok to be wrong – I gave them an example of my incorrectly interpreting a technology trend and publishing it. And that the industry requires lots of different skill sets, which can be learnt on the way.

 

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Students worked together to share their ideas 

 

Finally, by my appearing in front of them as a woman who has made their way in this industry, I feel I am contributing to a wider effort to shift perspectives. I hope to be followed into this school by more women in tech, and especially women of colour so that the female students present will see people who look more like them, presenting their chosen industry.

weKonnekt celebrate Teen Hero nomination at BBC studios

Hasan, Shayaan, Shakil, Itesham and Luay created weKonnekt – an app which helps young carers across the UK.  Since winning the People’s Choice category at the Apps for Good Awards 2015 the team have continued to promote their app and have also taken part in a number of exciting opportunities. Recently they were shortlisted for the Make it Digital Award at the Radio 1 Teen Hero Awards, in this blog they tell us about the experience. 

Several weeks ago, we got some exciting news – out of hundreds of nominations, our team was one of just three that had been shortlisted for this year’s Radio 1 Teen Hero Make It Digital Award. The award celebrates young people who are making a difference to the world through the innovative use of technology. On Tuesday 18th October, we got to spend an incredible day at the BBC, touring both the News and Radio 1 studios and working with a BBC producer and professional camera crew to create a film (check it out below) for Radio 1’s YouTube channel.

In the morning, we met the other inspiring nominees in all the Teen Hero Award categories, including the Apps For Good award-winning girls whose app ‘I’m Okay’ had proved an inspiration in the early days of developing our own app. After getting to know each other, it was time to meet some DJs, including Greg James, Scott and Chris and Nick Grimshaw, who suggested that we should form a boy band!  Continue reading

Taking Apps for Good to the next level (aka Global Domination for Good)

Many of you will have shared in our celebrations last year of 5 years of Apps for Good. When we first launched, we were sometimes asked what our ultimate goal was. Iris would say immediately, “Global domination.” I would laugh nervously and add, “For good, of course.”  Back then, with only 50 students at one London school, it seemed a wildly ambitious dream, but one we both believed in, knowing that the first step was to get things working in the UK.

Now five years later, we are not only established in the UK, but also growing in Portugal, Spain, Poland and most recently, the US.  I’ve been to New York, Minnesota, Maine and Arkansas and we now have 40 schools across the US, reaching around 1000 students this year.

As I bounce back and forth across the Atlantic, and Iris around Europe, we’ve realised we need someone to focus on leading our efforts in the UK, as our ambition remains equally great here. So, we’re recruiting a new UK Managing Director who can build on our strong foundation, leading the UK forward on its next phase of growth and innovating on our successful programme.  The new MD, working with the enthusiastic UK Apps for Good team, will have the chance to help us implement our new Internet of Things course, expand on our Fellowship Programme for former Apps for Good students and reach even more young people across the whole of the UK. They will be supported by Iris and I and our experienced Global Team. I will continue to oversee Apps for Good’s efforts both in the US and UK, while Iris guides our work in Portugal, Spain, Poland and our emerging partnerships around the world.
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#SiliconWick: Growing the next generation of Scottish Entrepreneurs with Digital Xtra

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 Aitken 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.

That’s why we’re 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.

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Celebrating diversity in tech

In our latest blog Arfah Farooq shares her experiences of working to improve diversity within the tech sect. Arfah leads on the various marketing campaigns to get people excited about Makers Academy, a 12 week coding course! She is passionate about changing lives and empowering more minorities and women into technology. She has set up MuslamicMakers a meetup for Muslims working in tech and is a Youth Trustee of charity Spark+Mettle.  You can follow her on Twitter to keep up to date with her work.

I am a British Muslim Pakistani woman who has been working in technology for 3 years. In this respect, I am unusual –  only 15% of the UK technology workforce are female, and even fewer are Muslim. For the last 2 years I’ve been working at Makers Academy where I’ve met an incredible diverse amount of women from a variety of backgrounds who have learnt to code.

My journey into technology was a bit of an accident and I often found myself suffering imposter syndrome where I feel like I don’t quite belong or I don’t deserve to be there because no one really looked like me or came from the same background. This is why it’s great that Apps for Good is pushing more women to take the role of expert to inspire more girls to consider a career in technology.  By encouraging women to become experts it helps women realise that they are an expert, but also it helps inspire the girls who can look up to these women are role models.

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Afrah Farooq is passionate about encouraging diversity in tech. 

 

Having role models is super important and it was one of the reasons my friend Murtaza and I, set up “Muslamic Makers” – a community for Muslims working in technology. A question we often get asked is why? There’s poor ethnic representation in the tech startup world, there are barriers such as traditional upbringing, lack of opportunity, education and resourcse.  There is also a huge gap in confidence especially as the technology world can be overwhelmingly white and middle class. Me and Murtaza however knew of a handful of Muslims working in and around technology so the mission was simple: to bring them together to create a community and create a safe space for guys & girls who wouldn’t attend the usual tech events due cultural barriers like not drinking alcohol. A simple space space to inspire, network and create future role models to contribute to a much more inclusive technology world.

 

 

Inspired by what I was doing and their own experiences in technology, two amazing Makers Academy graduates, Chuka Ebi and Adil Ali, decided to set up “Black Techies”, a community for black professionals working in technology. As Adil says “I came up with the idea of black techies when I realised that one of my only black role models in tech was Chuka. The first time I met him was at a party during my second week at Makers, and he was working at Fjord. He was someone that I could look up to, and aspire to be like, and he gave me a lot of great advice that night and thereafter.”

Adil continues, “Black Techies was created to make a community of black developers and hopeful developers, so that we could support, inspire, and collaborate with one another. It’s not hard to be different, nor is it a curse (as a lot of people seem to assume), but being alone is extremely difficult, and sometimes very disheartening. Black Techies was made so that black developers could have a place where they weren’t alone.”

My own passion for diversity in technology is continuing to grow stronger! I now curate a Snapchat account celebrating #DiversityInTech. My hope is that the account will be taken over by women, ethnic minorities, LGBTQ, and anyone else who works in technology and wants to celebrate diversity. I’m excited about the Apps for Good’s fellows who will be taking it over at some point! If you’re interested in taking over just send me your details here and be sure to add the account!
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Improving your Apps for Good journey: introducing our new Educator Dashboard

While summer temperatures may have just arrived in the UK, summer holidays are coming to an end and schools across the UK are ready for a new school year. At Apps for Good we’ve been putting  our summer to good use and are proud to reveal our brand new Educator Dashboard!

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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’s lots to explore, but today we’re giving you an overview of 4 essential features in order to get the most out of the Apps for Good course.

1). Start a Course

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As you make your way through the course content you will see a prompt at the bottom of your screen inviting you to start a course if you have not already done so. Clicking on this will enable you to create a class and start your journey through either the full course or the mini course.

2). Track your Progress

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This new feature at the bottom of each topic page will allow you to mark each module topic as “done” and will thus allow you to keep track of your progress on the course you have selected.

3). Lesson Primers

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These handy documents are designed to work in tandem with the 5 minute lesson plans and will provide you with extra help when planning lessons by defining key terms, offering further reading suggestions and providing example assessment questions.

4). 15 Minute Training and Deeper Learning

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These tools are located in the CPD Training tab on the dashboard. The 15 minute training pages include inspirational videos and informative links which will enable you to teach your students about everything from e-safety to the importance of grit and remaining resilient when challenges arise during the course.

The deeper learning pages will provide you with an in depth look at how to foster creativity in the classroom.

We want to know what you think of our new Dashboard. Got any comments, ideas or suggestions for how we can keep improving the Dashboard? Let us know on education@appsforgood.org.