Ready for the 21st century: Building students’ grit and resilience

Teachers, employers and schools want more for their students than good exam results: they want to see students leaving school with the skills and character needed to succeed in the 21st century. While our Educators use Apps for Good to teach digital skills, what I often hear from our educators, and what is the most moving for me, is about the transformation they see in their students and how they develop life skills such as problem-solving, teamwork and resilience.

Working together on Apps for Good students learn more than digital skills

Working together on Apps for Good students learn more than digital skills

Apps for Good Educator Fathima Anwari of Mount Grace School recently shared with Sec Ed her experiences of teaching Apps for Good as part of overall efforts to encourage entrepreneurship in students, describing how she has seen students with new-found confidence thanks to the course. One of Fathima’s shyest students has ‘come into his own after working with peers to design and build an app prototype’. For Social Bank, Mount Grace’s winning team at the Apps for Good Awards 2013, the team faced many setbacks and challenges before developing their winning app idea but these allowed them to develop the ‘resilience and belief in what they were doing’.

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The team behind Social Bank faced many challenges before coming up with their winning app idea

This is something I have also seen personally in Apps for Good Fellows. Mohima, who created the Bengali to English translation app Transit in 2011, says that speaking to Apps for Good Experts throughout the course and working with other students helped improve how she worked in a team and her communication skills. Since developing her app she has gone on to represent Apps for Good at many events, most recently at Facebook’s International Women’s Day celebrations, and is also studying biomedical engineering at Imperial College London.

What to help your students develop soft skills in their computing classes? Visit our website and find out more about delivering Apps for Good in 2015/16 or email me at education@appsforgood.org

Introducing our Ninja Education Partners

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Apps for Good has over 220 education partners spread across the UK – from Wick High School in Caithness, Scotland, to Cape Cornwall School, in St Just, Penzance, the most south-westerly secondary school in the UK.

As a former head teacher, I am delighted to work with schools that are dedicated to bringing creative learning programmes to their students and using technology to develop more exciting ways for students to learn. I also know that the best support for schools comes from other schools giving advice and sharing best practice.

That’s why I am delighted to announce our 2013/2014 Ninja Education Partners: 12 outstanding Apps for Good schools that we’ve appointed to help us grow the Apps for Good movement, support our existing education partners and build regional networks.

The 2013/2014 Ninja Education Partners are:

Ninja Education Partner Region Specialty
Ballyclare High School Northern Ireland Northern Ireland Delivery
Bolton St Catherine’s Academy North West Year 8 Delivery
Dr Challoner’s Grammar School South East Coding
Gladesmore Community School London Launching AFG effectively
Mount Grace School East of England Competition Preparation
Redden Court School East of England International School Links
Shireland Collegiate Academy West Midlands Enrichment Day Delivery
The Heath School North West Year 9 Delivery
Thornleigh Salesian College North West Year 7 Delivery
Westfields Junior School South East Primary School Delivery
Wick High School Scotland Scotland Delivery
Wildern School South East Extracurricular/Club Delivery

It’s been an exciting year so far working with our Ninja Schools, with more to come:

  • Westfields Junior School wrote this blog post sharing their tips for running Apps for Good
  • Chris Aitken, Teacher of Computing Science at Wick High School, won the TalkTalk Digital Heroes Award for Scotland for his work with Apps for Good
  • Stuart Keen, ICT Teacher at Dr Challoner’s High School, hosted a workshop at Google’s London HQ for Google’s Bring Your Child to Work Day
  • Students and teachers from Dr Challoner’s High School, Gladesmore School and Highgate School joined Vince Cable and Facebook engineers at Facebook’s London HQ as part of Tomorrow’s Engineers Week
  • In February 2014, we are sending students and teachers to the Mobile World Conference, the world’s largest mobile conference in Barcelona, Spain

The Ninja Schools are keen to support the Apps for Good educator community via email, blogs and webinars. If you have a topic or issue you’d like to know more about or want to speak with any of the Ninja Education Partners for advice or support, please email education@appsforgood.org and we’ll get the ball rolling for you.

If you are wondering who the cute kid is at the top of the page…it’s Natalie our Education Community Manager (in her younger days)!

Debbie Forster, UK Managing Director, Apps for Good