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Apps for Good are programming apps to solve real-world problems in secondary school, with the aim of motivating adolescents and developing their entrepreneurial and programming abilities. Corporate volunteers are involved.

EDUCATIONAL LEVEL (age)

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 ANALYSIS OF INNOVATION

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Apps for good

1. PROBLEM THAT THE INNOVATION TRIES TO SOLVE

Traditional education systems are wasting talent. Many young people are demotivated by traditional teaching methods
that leave them ill-prepared for the real world.

Technology is advancing apace, exciting the imagination of young people, who want to use it to create, play and share. Yet traditional schooling lags well behind, missing this opportunity to engage and make good use of technology to create enriching learning experiences, especially those students most disaffected with standard lessons. Teachers who want to use technology to create more exciting ways to learn feel frustrated they cannot do more. 

On the other hand, the technology of the world of education provides no answers for real-world challenges and problems. So it has no relevance for students.

2. WHAT SOLUTION IS PROPOSED?

Apps for Good is a movement that links an education in open-source technology with the solution of real problems. 

It wants to build a new global generation of problem solvers and makers: students who can create, launch and market new products that change the world. It starts from the concept that technology can be a great catalyst and a massive force for good, to transform lives and communities around the world. 

Apps for Good partners with educators in schools and learning centres to deliver specific training to young people aged 10 to 18. It provides the course content, training and connections to the expert volunteers, and then lets teachers do what they are best at – inspiring and guiding young people.

Students work together as teams to find real issues they care about and learn to build a mobile, web or social app to solve them. Like professional entrepreneurs, students go through all key aspects of new product development, from idea generation, technical feasibility and programming to product design, deciding on business models and marketing.

3.HOW DOES THIS SOLUTION WORK?

The Apps for Good course teaches coding and the fundamentals of the digital world, while also developing skills in problem solving, creativity, communication and teamwork. 

With a focus on solving real issues that matter to young people, the students learn the full software product development process in a hands-on way.

Apps for Good recognises that educators are at very different stages in terms of their students learning to code. Educators can therefore choose the depth of learning that is most appropriate for their students. 

There are built-in opportunities throughout the course for the students to build working prototypes. From 2013/2014 onwards, there are four prototyping tiers for educators and students:

  • Tier 1 – Basic: Balsamiq click-through wireframes/POP app;
  • Tier 2 – Building blocks: AppInventor 1 & 2 plus AppShed;
  • Tier 3 – Web: Starting with Blockly (to show Javascript) and HTML+CSS (including code in JSBin or Thimble), moving on to plug-ins, framework and libraries and APIs; 
  • Tier 4 – Social: Javascript, social plug-ins and Facebook API (public & private) including JSBin, and also Facebook developer account.  

Throughout the course, educators connect with the community of expert volunteers – technology professionals and entrepreneurs who help to bring the real world into the classroom for the students. Experts mentor the student teams in one-hour sessions via video conferencing or in person. They help the students to progress or pilot their ideas and provide inspiration and motivation.  Experts also give teachers a hand in tackling the more challenging areas
of the course.

At the end of the academic year, the Apps for Good Awards are presented. This is a nationwide competition in which the top student app teams from across the UK compete to have their apps launched commercially with the support of Apps for Good and its sponsors.

4. IMPACT INDICATORS AND RESULTS

Since its beginnings in 2010 as an after-school activity at the Central Foundation School for Girls in Tower Hamlets, East London (with 25 students, one Apps for Good alumnus trained as an educator and five visiting experts), the initiative has reached substantial figures in the United Kingdom and Ireland:

  • 17,000 students;
  • 230 schools;
  • 800 educators;
  • 400 volunteer professionals.

By September 2014, the programme will have succeeded in involving 50,000 students in 1,000 schools.

5. INNOVATION HIGHLIGHTS

  • Solid methodology.
  • Educational combination with great potential: citizenship, entrepreneurship and technology.
  • An international network to enrich the model and the experience.
  • Significant cooperation from local companies.
  • Capacity for rapid growth.

6. GEOGRAPHICAL AREA

Starting in London, there are currently 213 schools affiliated in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

In Catalonia, the initiative was launched as part of the Mobile World Capital Barcelona programme.

By January 2014, it had spread to 6,000 students in 196 secondary schools in Catalonia.

7. INCOME MODEL

In the United Kingdom, the revenue comes from a £250 fee paid by private schools.

Thanks to its sponsors, it offers its services free of charge to community or non-profit educational establishments. It is estimated that a £6,000 donation covers the development of Apps for Good for three schools (300 students). This contribution covers training for the teachers, the development of the Apps for Good course and the annual competition.