Thursday, 16 September 2010

Apps For Good Launch Event (15/09/2010)

Last night I was lucky enough to attend the Apps For Good 2010 launch event at the Central Foundation Girls School in Bow, North London. What is Apps For Good I hear you ask? Why the Central Foundation Girls School in Bow I hear you cry?

Apps For Good is a course provided by CDI Europe (The European arm of the Centre for Digital Inclusion), aimed at getting students involved in creating applications that will help to do some good in their community, while gaining real life experience in teamwork, project management and application design (all highly valuable).

The second manifestation of the course, Apps For Girls has the advantage of first year graduates returning to the project to work as mentors to pass on the skills gained during their learning earlier in the year. This was the theory (I have only really heard about recently via the ether) of - teachers that learn, and students that teach - in action and it seems to be a highly all-round positive productive way of doing things.

Student applicants were evaluated on their pitches and a passion for the ideals behind the course, rather than  grades, which meant a good variety of technical competency in the class. Students went through five steps prior to development of any idea -

  1. Read the World (What needs changing/improving?)
  2. Research Data (Will it be possible? Who will we effect?)
  3. Plan Action
  4. Take Action
  5. Evaluate the path (Learning from experiences instead of walking away with a diploma and handshake)

Iris Lapinksi Launching the Event
Iris Lapinski (pictured left), CDI Europe's UK Director introduced the event with a short presentation featuring the first three applications the program produced (StudioPhly, Student Voice and Stop&Search - all currently available on the Android Marketplace), and introduced us to this year's first set of graduates, returning as mentors for the 2010 participants. CDI partnered with the Central Foundation Girls School to try to redress the gender unbalance in the UK's IT workforce (According to e-skills UK, only 23% of the UK’s tech workforce is female). After a supportive message from Central's Headteacher Dr. Anne Hudson, a brief word from the course sponsors Dell (who kindly provided the development hardware) it was on with the networking, where I was able to meet some really interesting industry people.
I'm interested in the concept of "inclusion". Too many people often end up marginalised by simply not knowing that they can make a difference in their world, and Apps For Good will help create the next bunch of mobile software development evangelists to take this message further. The skills and experiences that can be gained throughout the development process will not only enhance the students CV's, but it will also hopefully filter back into the community.

I'm hopefully going to continue attending, so will keep you posted or see you at the next event?)


  1. claire ramage - Dell17 September 2010 at 12:17

    Great to meet you there Ben - Agree it was an inspiring event which should greatly enable these young folks with technology, and it's rewarding to engage young women in having interest in the IT industry - it's not just for geeks :-)See you at the next event...


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