Course | Apps for Good

http://appsforgood.org/course/

Course | Apps for Good

Course

Apps for Good is an award-winning course where young people learn to create imaginative mobile apps that change their world. Our students create apps that make a difference and solve real life issues that matter to them and their community, giving them a launchpad in social enterprise and the exciting world of technology, design and innovation.

Applications for 2012/13 are now open. Fill our expression of interest form to apply before 30th April 2012.

Participants work together in teams to find out what issues they want to tackle and how best to solve them with mobile and web applications. With a focus on solving real-life issues that matter to young people and/or the communities they live in, students learn about the full software product development process in a very practical way. Apps that are successfully designed and prototyped may be selected for professional build via our annual Apps for Good National Competition.

While learning technical skills is valuable, this is this is much more than just “programming course”. As well as gaining a useful, hands-on understanding of the technology market and its design process, Apps for Good also gives students the opportunity to:

  • use cutting-edge technology they are familiar with and enthusiastic about in an engaging, creative and constructive way
  • address school/local issues positively and proactively; offering excellent links to student voice and citizenship
  • learn in a personalised and self-directed way
  • gain experience of working both independently and within teams with “real world” pressures and expectations
  • develop essential “soft” skills, including communication/presentation skills, teamwork, critical and analytical thinking and problem-solving
  • engage with a “real world” audience and work with expert and professional networks and processes in an environment distinct from school

Apps for Good is no ordinary course and doesn’t just “teach a subject”. It helps students ready themselves for employment, self-employment and entrepreneurship in the real world. Schools report that this course noticeably improves their students’ self-confidence and aspirations, as well as giving them real confidence in presenting both to peers and adult audiences. The students themselves also note that the ability to generate and think through their own ideas in a structured way as one of their main gains from the course.

The course is very practical and interactive, and consists of five main stages:

1: Problem Discovery

Participants begin by learning about what is possible with mobile by taking a closer look at what an app is, and what current mobile functions are available, using Google’s App Inventor and tutorials. Through a series of exercises, puzzle sessions, participants hone their ability to recognize real opportunities in the market in a truly personal way: recounting and analysing real stories of real problems that they themselves or people they know have experienced. By sharing and discussing their experiences, and those of the people they know, the teams identify a whole range of areas where every-day, real-life problems occur for further exploration.

2: Research

The teams investigate the various opportunities they have identified by contacting, and interviewing stakeholders to better understand the context of underserved outcomes where apps might add value. By the end of this stage teams will have much clearer, more defined knowledge of who and where (physically) their users are, their motivations, interactions, and how they might use an app to get a particular job done. Fittingly, this stage of the course culminates in a pitch day where the ideas are scrutinised by a room full of external design, development and business experts!

3: Solution Design

Solution design involves teams developing a strategy for the best execution of their idea. Teams learn about how best to organise enterprise around their application, beginning the iteration of strategies for marketing, distribution and business planning.

4: Product Design

Once solution design is complete, the teams focus on perfecting their product design, testing and improving the feature sets and user interactions in dialogue with potential users. This is done through paper wireframes as well as interactive tools to allow for click through animations.

5: Build & test

Using a range of tools, including Google App Inventor students will work to create the first prototype app to be deployed onto AndroidMarket. They will then work to test and refine their design and get real-life testing feedback from the public.

Paul Champion
Strategic Project Manager

Mobile: 07540 704920

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