Preview of Module 1: Crash Course

Welcome to the first in the series of Apps for Good module previews. Throughout the 2014/15 school year we will be giving you a preview of what students enrolled in our course will be learning. Our course is made up of five modules that equip students with core skills ranging from working as a team, ideas generation to the more technical side of designing an app.

What’s it all about?

Module 1 sets the context for the rest of the Apps for Good course. While it’s a short module, it’s meant to excite students about what they are about to work on and clear up any misconceptions about building apps. It also lays the necessary groundwork for what’s to come, especially as the Apps for Good approach to learning – such as working in teams and student-driven projects – will be new for many students.

What do they learn?

One of the most important lessons for students is that they will be building their own project and that they will have the unique opportunity to drive forward an idea that they come up with. For many students, this is the first time they will have been given the space to be creative and take a level of responsibility for their learning, which can be both scary and exciting. However, students are also told that it’s not only okay to make mistakes, but that making mistakes and pivoting can help increase their creativity and enable them to develop an app prototype that is more finely tuned.

Students learn they will be driving forward their app idea

Students learn they will be driving forward their app idea

It’s also where students begin learning one of the core Apps for Good skills: teamwork. In Module 1, students form their teams of between three to five members. There are some important points for teachers to consider during the allocation of teams: circle of friends or not, shared versus mixed ability, specialist versus general skills and individual versus team learning. Getting the balance right is essential to ensuring that students get the most out of the course over the next year. We provide students with an outline of the six roles that will help teams successfully complete the Apps for Good course: idea generator, organiser, designer, tech specialist, entrepreneur and communicator. Students are given a task that helps them link their experiences and interests to evaluate their suitability in each of the roles. Depending on numbers some students take on two roles; however they are all encouraged to be proactive in collaborating through sharing expertise so all members are able to develop their skills set.

Students are also introduced to our Fellows community of former Apps for Good students. Our videos from Amarah and Mohima give students some great tips of how to get the most out of the course and how it can help them in their personal development.

Students are also introduced to the prototyping tools they will use throughout the year, including Balsamiq and AppShed, as well as CSS and HTML5

What’s next?

Module two will see students start to brainstorm and scope out the issues that are important to them and how they could help solve these problems through an app. Teachers will also begin connecting with our network of 800 Expert volunteers who help provide real world insight and advice for the students as they develop their app ideas.

We love hearing from our community educators across the country and how Apps for Good is going in their classrooms, so share your stories with us! Contact us through Twitter @AppsforGoodCDI or email education@appsforgood.org