Shireland Collegiate Academy, West Midlands
One of our first education partners and winner of School of the Year at last year's Apps for Good Awards, Shireland Collegiate Academy have had great success embedding Apps for Good into their Design and Technology and ICT curriculum. Hear from teachers and students on the impact the programme has had in their school.
Why did you decide to do Apps for Good at your school?
In January 2011 I was lucky enough to see Iris Lapinski present about Apps for Good at the Learning Without Frontiers Conference and was not only struck by the clarity and purposefulness of the programme, but also the enthusiasm, confidence and authority with which the students who had been through the programme presented with. I knew there and then that this had real potential and would fit perfectly in our academy as a real driver for both Design and ICT, but more importantly something that would absolutely catch the imagination of our students.
How have you implemented Apps for Good?
This year our Apps for Good Programme has been delivered in Curriculum time to four discrete classes in Year 9 totalling 92 students. Students have been put in groups of four or five and have had lessons delivered by qualified teachers and assessed under normal conditions. In addition the Academy has implemented a voluntary class after the Academy Day.
What have students gained from the course?
Students have gained an appreciation of the collegiate nature of project work and the need to reach consensus. They have benefited greatly from the ability to concentrate on a single project for a period of time and to iterate improvements. Students have gained skills in the areas of Business and Technology they would never had an opportunity to explore until Year 10.
What have teachers gained from the course?
Teachers have had the opportunity to work with students in a different way; focussed project work with a clear outcome has allowed development of leadership roles by students and new classroom management systems by teachers. In addition the project has allowed teachers the opportunity to teach softer skills to students such as resilience and problem solving which have built upon the competency framework that we operate in Year 8.
Why would you recommend Apps for Good to other schools?
Apps for Good is fast becoming one of our key delivery mechanisms for Design and Technology and in light of recent emphases on ICT programming, this will link rather well with other elements of our curriculum delivery, enabling us to offer a contextualised programme which students enjoy while learning key skills.
At Shireland we tend to like to embed key activities within the formal curriculum and not leave them to chance in the informal study support/clubs structure and so we set about framing the project within our Year 9 Curriculum offer. This year has seen “Apps For Good” mature and as we have seen this opportunity grow, we have shaped our offer to students. “Apps For Good” has given our students a brilliant Design opportunity and has the potential to act as a cornerstone of a Technology offer which links core ICT, creative Design and contextualised Computer Science.
App example: Beat the Book
Beat the book was developed by David Adekoya, 13 from St Matthew Academy in Lewisham, in response to his own frustration with reading. This app meets a real need amongst young people who don’t enjoy reading. An app used by teachers to support and encourage curriculum reading – teachers input questions, students answer them through a game on their phones, thus encouraging students to read by gamifying the experience and enabling teachers to track their progress. Students can also communicate directly with their teacher in this less intimidating environment if they are struggling.