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Tayler Kirk is from Apps for Good, one of our funded providers. Here, she writes about the work they do with students to help prepare them for the world of work by linking them to Industry Experts, and their new workshop: ‘Design an App in a Day’. 

My name is Tayler Kirk and I work as the Senior Education and Engagement Manager at Apps for Good, a charity that provides schools and colleges with free courses and workshops to teach students about designing technology for social good.

Since our inception, a key element of our teacher-led courses has been connecting students with Industry Expert volunteers through video conferencing software. These sessions allowed our Experts to give specialist guidance to students throughout the course on their projects as well as providing an insight into having a career in technology. This invaluable tool helps schools in remote or rural locations who may otherwise struggle to find industry encounters for their students. This, in combination with our in-person workshops, allowed us to reach over 20,000 students across the UK in the 19/20 academic year. As the delivery of our in-person workshops have been paused due to COVID-19, we’re focusing on supporting more schools to deliver our resources with the help of our Expert sessions and our newly adapted remote workshop.

Our new workshop

Our most popular workshop is our ‘Design an App in a Day’ course which sees students design an App to solve a problem they care about over the course of 5 hours. Traditionally this would involve a member of Apps for Good staff delivering the material in person with the assistance of a number of our Expert volunteers. As we’re currently unable to deliver these workshops in person, we have created video content introducing each activity, presentations, and Apps for Good staff are on hand to support remotely throughout the day. Students will be able to present their work to our Industry Experts over video conferencing at pre-arranged points in the day to get invaluable feedback and a careers Q&A.

We are always looking to improve our support for our amazing educators and have learnt valuable lessons throughout the process of adapting our workshops for remote delivery:

  1. Despite the challenges of trying to catch students up, many schools are still actively looking for opportunities for students to develop employability skills.
  2. It’s important to have options for teachers to deliver materials outside of a Computing room. Our workshops can be delivered in either IT suites or in standard classrooms and we also have ‘Unplugged resources’ for teachers looking for offline Computing resources.
  3. Many schools in remote or rural areas struggle with poor internet connections so pre-recorded videos can be preferable to a live stream.
  4. Having materials matched to the curriculum means our materials can be delivered in lesson times and is an attractive offer for teachers who may be worried about time constraints.
  5. Materials which can be completed by students either individually or in groups gives schools flexibility about how they deliver in accordance with their preferences and Covid requirements.

We cannot wait to support more students designing technology that could change their future for social good. If you’re interested in delivering one of our courses or finding out more information, please visit www.appsforgood.org/course