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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 after education.

Tayler Kirk
Tayler Kirk

Hi! My name is Tayler Kirk and I am the Education Outreach and Engagement Manager at Apps for Good - a charity which provides free courses to teach students about new technologies, such as App Development, the Internet of Things and Machine Learning, while simultaneously equipping them with the problem solving, creativity and teamwork skills needed to thrive once they leave the classroom.

Our courses are primarily delivered by an army of dedicated classroom teachers across the UK as part of the computing curriculum, or as an extracurricular/enrichment activity. We’re aware of how time pressured our teachers are so all our courses are fully resourced with presentations, student workbooks and worksheets to enable teachers to spend more time supporting students and fostering their interest in technology. To enhance the experience of our students, we have over 1000 industry expert volunteers who dial into classrooms throughout the course to provide support and guidance to students in a variety of areas including ideation screening, technical feasibility and discussions about careers in Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM).

We’ve recently been lucky enough to begin going into schools to deliver our Design an App in a Day workshop in collaboration with The Careers & Enterprise Company. During the day, students work in teams with industry volunteers to design an app to help solve or alleviate a problem that they care about. At the end of the day students gain experience of public speaking by sharing their ideas in a ‘Dragons Den’ style pitch where they receive feedback from the Experts.

Apps for good

Working with The Careers and Enterprise Company

Since our establishment in 2010 we’ve reached 143,200 students in 3400 schools and this number is growing every day. Our courses have been designed to hone and develop both students’ technical and power skills which are vital to success both within the classroom and beyond. Upon completion of our courses, students display amazing results, with:

  1.    75% improving their problem-solving ability
  2.    78% are more interested in pursuing a career in Technology
  3.    80% improving their teamwork skills
  4.     84% improving their product design skills

Every year we celebrate the tremendous achievements of our students by hosting our annual Apps for Good Awards. After our shortlisting partners have evaluated and provided written feedback to every team, our final 15 teams are invited to London to visit a leading technology company and then pitch their ideas to a panel of industry Experts before taking part in a showcase marketplace. To ensure that no school is disadvantaged, Apps for Good pays for all the travel and accommodation of the finalist teams. This year we were delighted to welcome teams from as far afield as the Isle of Skye, Somerset and Cheshire and were thrilled to have entries spanning App Development, the Internet of Things and Machine Learning models.

One of our Design an App in a Day sessions

Apps for good Our aim is to continue to inspire the next generation of digital pioneers, regardless of their socioeconomic background and encourage more students to consider a career in STEM. A key challenge that we are facing is that many schools struggle to recruit and retain Computer Science teachers, so we are delighted that the National Centre for Computing Education is investing resources to remedy this issue. We look forward to working with the centre to support current and prospective Computer Science teachers make a difference to the lives of students across England.

Every day I’m astounded by the creativity and ingenuity of the students we work with. Their determination to use technology to make the world a better place is truly inspirational and makes every session that we run a fascinating place to be. Seeing the growth in students’ technical and power skills throughout the day is incredibly satisfying and gives me great hope for the next generation of digital innovators.

If you want to find out more about the work we do or how we could collaborate to make a difference to the lives of students across the UK please contact us at education@appsforgood.org

Apps for good