Diversity in tech: breaking down barriers

This year, one of our key goals at Apps for Good is encouraging and championing greater diversity within tech. Working with thought leaders, Fellows and our Expert Community, we’re helping to transform young people’s perceptions of technology as well as highlighting the opportunities and diversity within the tech sector.

As part of this process, we have been identifying the barriers to diversity and looking to address these challenges through a series of initiatives. These include face to face engagement activities such as workshops, focus groups, Expert hangouts and workplace experiences for our students & Fellows. We have also been hearing from women and other minorities within tech and business about their own experiences as well as the growing opportunities for young people within STEM careers.

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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

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.

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Energy and Excitement at the Apps for Good Awards 2016

A few weeks have passed since this year’s Apps for Good Awards but we still haven’t gotten over the excitement of meeting amazing student teams from across the UK. In our latest blog Apps for Good Expert Claire Unwin, from Atos, looks back at the evening of the Awards and some of the fantastic teams she met.

It’s over three weeks since the Apps for Good Awards took place at the Barbican in London, but I’m still buzzing from the energy and enthusiasm that was generated on that Monday evening when England were still in Euro 2016.

Stepping into the Gallery space at the Barbican centre, I was hit by a wall of noise. When I’ve attended conferences and trade fairs, there’s a subdued mumble in comparison. Here, when I tried to listen to the children promoting their app, some of the younger team members literally had to shout to be heard!

Fifteen finalists each had their own pitch on a stand and the invited guests circulated around the teams in the ‘Marketplace’, discovering the story behind each App. There was a healthy element of competition. This year, as well as the winners chosen by the ‘Dragons’, there would be a winner for People’s Choice. This year hundreds of  app ideas had been submitted to the final selection by schools across the UK who are delivering the Apps for Good course. I was thrilled to see three of the teams that I’d helped in my role as volunteer ‘expert’ had made it to the final.

Each of the finalist teams had to present their ‘pitch’ to the Dragons in the afternoon. There are five categories of awards, all of course with the theme of benefiting people rather than being for profit: Accessibility, Information, Connected Communities, Sustainable Communities and Productivity.

Team_Diploy

Team DiPloy from Denbigh present their app

But this is now the fifth year of Apps for Good and not only has the number of entries grown, but the ways in which those involved can be recognised has also grown. This year, the awards ceremony was run by ‘Fellows’ i.e. school children who had been through the Apps for Good programme. There was an award for Expert of the Year, which deservedly went to Sandra Gonzalez, as founder of UX for Change and the person who first introduced me to Apps for Good.The Employability awards recognise the teams who may have done the best market research or the best marketing and SEO practices.

I spoke with the team for Rocket Code, a computer ‘game’ where you are lost in space and have to code a spaceship to get you home. If you want to travel faster in space, you code yourself a booster charger! The team were so passionate about their project, they said they’d be progressing it even if they didn’t win. Other apps I loved were Lillies, for children having to deal with bereavement, who had contacted 100 charities involved in the area as part of their research. Then there was DiPloy which is an app to support people with disabilities get into employment and where the team had gone into partnership with an existing Luton based charity to provide a service to generate CVs and run a job portal. Finally, Changes won the People’s Choice award and is an app for children dealing with going through puberty. All teams had found a problem to be solved, researched the market and were passionate about their project.

Leaving the Barbican, I was reflecting on what I love about Apps for Good? I love that it inspires everyone. I love that it’s such a simple model but with structure and purpose. (It’s effectively an MBA course for 12 year olds!) It’s a course where you learn to research, market, promote, present, pitch, problem solve, design, prototype and even code. I loved that one of the teams I’d helped had been brave enough to abandon their initial idea and were here in the final with a fresh new idea. I love that 50% of team members are girls and I love that nearly 50% of volunteers are women in tech.

If you asked me to take charge of the recent cabinet reshuffle, I’d propose a Minister for Entrepreneurism impose a tax on tech companies to support Apps for Good who are making such a huge contribution to training our next generation of employees!

To close the evening, Debbie Forster, CEO of Apps for Good, stood on stage with the finalists and once the applause died down, said simply “I defy anyone here tonight, not to feel inspired!”

It was a great night and great cause and I look forward to supporting Apps for Good in their sixth year.

Finalists

All the finalist from the Apps for Good Awards 2016

 

Press release: Britain’s tech future is bright following announcement of winners of 2016 Apps for Good Awards

Six teams of young students from across the country have been recognised for their digital skills, as Apps for Good announces the winners of their annual awards. Following a tough competition entered by hundreds of student teams, the six winning teams of students are going to be working alongside professional app developers and sponsors to get their app ready for market in February 2017.

Now in its fifth year, the Awards recognise and celebrate young tech entrepreneurs who are creating apps to change the world for good. Any students who study the free Apps for Good course – currently being delivered in over 800 schools nationwide – are able to enter.

The winners all between 9 and 18 years old, were selected from 15 finalists from across the UK, to have their apps created and made available on Google Play. The announcement comes following the Apps for Good Awards on the 20th of June at the Barbican. Five of the winning teams had to present their app to a team of industry leaders, made up of Chris Linnett, Director of Design at Spotify; Tunji Akintokun, Director of Global Virtual Sales, Cisco and Gayle Noah Media Director, L’Oréal UK & Ireland at the Apps for Good Awards ceremony. The remaining winning team was chosen by an online vote in the People’s Choice Award.

Winners for the Apps for Good Awards 2016
Category Sponsor Winner
Information Thomson Reuters Fear Nothing
Sustainable Communities Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Donate IT
Connected Communities Salesforce.org Lilies
Productivity SAP Allergy Basket
Accessibility Samsung Diploy
People’s Choice Award EE Changes

Debbie Forster, co-CEO of Apps for Good explains, “This entrants for this year’s competition were amongst the best we have ever had in the Apps for Good Awards history. We’re incredibly excited to have such talented, and creative students taking part, and believe Britain’s future as a tech hub are bright.”

“Our mission at Apps for Good is to equip these young people with the skills to allow them to move from being technology consumers to technology creators. Our five winners wowed the judges, and amongst the brightest young minds, and we look forward to their launch in February next year.”

Ends

For a full list of winners head to http://www.digitalnewsroom.co.uk/afg/

To arrange interviews, speak to spokespeople or with any questions, please contact:

Elly Barham Marsh, Niamh Kelly
0203 1279 270
elly@manifest.london, niamh@manifest.london

Fear Nothing
A team of 9-10 year olds from Westfields Junior School, Hampshire have been announced as winners in this year’s Apps for Good Awards. Their app Fear Nothing helps children deal with their phobias, it won in the Information category powered by Thomson Reuters, helps children deal with their phobias.

Donate iT
A team of two 18 year olds from Connell Sixth Form College has been announced as the winner of the Sustainable Communities category sponsored by Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park at this year’s national Apps for Good Awards. Their app Donate iT aims to help users donate furniture, equipment and other items to the charities that need them.

Lilies
A team of 13-14 year olds from Stratford Girls’ Grammar School, Warwickshire has been announced as the winner of the Connected Communities sponsored by Salesforce.org at this year’s national Apps for Good Awards. Their app Lilies  helps support 10-16 year olds who have lost a loved one.

Allergy Basket
A team of 9-10 year olds from Westfields Junior School, Hampshire have been announced as winners in this year’s Apps for Good Awards. Their app Allergy Basket tells users if the ingredients they are allergic to are in a food, was shortlisted in the Productivity category powered by SAP.

DiPloy
A team of 12-14 year olds from Denbigh High School, Luton has been announced as the winner of the Accessibility category sponsored by Samsung at this year’s national Apps for Good Awards. Their app DiPloy aims to help disabled people looking for employment by simplifying the process, collating suitable job opportunities in one place.

Changes
A team of 10 & 11 year olds from Coleridge Primary School, London has been announced as winners in the People’s Choice powered by EE for their app idea Changes The team has spent months working on the app, which helps children who are too nervous to ask adults about puberty by providing them with useful information.

As well as the finalists for the six main Apps for Good Awards categories, a series of additional awards were announced on the night to celebrate other schools and individuals involved in the Apps for Good curriculum programme.

Judging Partner: Capgemini

Venue Partner: Barbican

Supporters:Uncorked

Additional Prizes

Fellowship Prizes powered by 123 Reg

Sophie Willis from Bolton St. Catherine’s Academy
Katie Louise Griffiths from Stratford Girls Grammar School
Ellora James from Wick High School
Jashvanth Srikantharajah from Sutton Grammar School
Ben Jilks from The Boswells School
Rebecca Jilks from The Boswells School

Employability Skills Prizes

Tech Prize:Petsit, created by: Stella Boutcher (13), Caitlin Briggs (13) and Karin Lelengboto (14) from St. Marylebone CE School, an app that helps connect pet owners and pet sitters in an area.

Research Prize: Briefcase, created by Francesca Clutton(14), Jesse Lee (14), Lilian Waters (13), Katie Wellstead (14), Jessica Zheng (14) and Molly Quelch (14) from Stratford Girls’ Grammar School helps young adults trying to find work in their area

Marketing Prize: Trim, created by Ben Croucher (14), Shalan Mendes (14), Tim Murphy (14), Armand Coretchi (14) and Tej Shah, (14) from Sutton Grammar School for Boys helps to reduce waiting time in restaurants.

Impact Prizes powered by SapientNitro

Educator of the Year: Jon Kemp, teacher at Bolton St. Catherine’s Academy. Kemp is active with both encouraging students to join Apps for Good and mentoring the Fellows after they have completed the programme.

Expert of the Year: Sandra Gonzalez, Principal UX Designer at Just Eat. Gonzalez is the founder of UX for Change and has founded a scholarship programme to give Apps for Good Partners professional UX training.

School of the Year: The Boswells School, Essex. The Boswells School has implemented the Apps for Good programme since 2014 and has already become an advocate for the course. After having a student team, My World of Atoms, win a prize in the 2015 Awards, the school has utilized its fellows and teachers to raise awareness of the programme in the Essex community.

Information sponsor: Thomson Reuters
Sustainable Communities sponsor: Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Connected Communities sponsor: Salesforce.org
Productivity sponsor: SAP
Accessibility sponsor: Samsung
People’s Choice Award sponsor: EE

About Apps for Good

Apps for Good is an education technology movement that is transforming the way technology is taught in schools, turning young tech consumers into tech creators. Apps for Good aims to unlock the confidence and talent of the next generation of problem solvers and digital makers: young people who are ready to tackle the 21st century workplace and are inspired to create real technology products that can change their world for good.

Working alongside educators Apps for Good has developed a free flexible course framework that infuses digital learning with teamwork, creativity and entrepreneurship. Students find a problem they want to solve and apply new skills to making a real life app, exploring the full product development cycle from concept to coding to launch in a way that brings the classroom to life.

Apps for Good partners with educators in schools and learning centres to deliver its app development course to young people 8-18 years of age. Since launching in 2010/11 Apps for Good has been delivered in over 1,000 schools to more than 75,000 students. Apps for Good is a registered charity and is supported by partnerships with companies and foundations who share their vision of improving technology education. Corporate partners and sponsors include technology leaders Thomson Reuters, Salesforce.org, Nominet Trust and Samsung to name but a few.