Zainul Ahbedin

Apps for Good Teacher of the Year 2021

Introduction to Zainul

Zainul Ahbedin from Lyng Hall School is our pick for Teacher of the Year.

Zainul delivered an Apps for Good course to his students for the first time this year after reading about Apps for Good in a blog, posted by The Careers & Enterprise company. Zainul has been a delight to work with, always supporting us with adhoc requests and has delivered the course so well, that he has ended up with a finalist team in this years' Apps for Good Awards.

Zainul Full
Why did you decide to deliver an Apps for Good course this academic year, and did it meet your expectations?

When I read about the ‘Apps for Good’ course in one of CEC’s blogs, I immediately thought ‘this is right up my street’ and the kids are going to really love this. During the COVID-19 pandemic, over the last year or so, it was important for us as school to engage our pupils as remotely and as creatively as possible, while preparing them with soft-skills for the professional world. Being part of the ‘digital’ generation, the concept of designing a mobile phone app that could potentially come into reality, was an exciting and sellable idea in itself.

After introducing this to our pupils in the first session, you could see the entrepreneurial spirit come alive. Some had really credible ideas and some less so. Some were young techies in the making, some were in need of confidence and some were just happy to be part of a team. Whatever their reasons for taking part didn’t matter hugely, to me anyway. What was important was being able to discuss social change, technology and business (among many, many other positives) with pupils from key stage 3. Such topics were, dare I say, mature and forward thinking, especially as anything other than the traditional curriculum was secondary. This course, and the continuity of it over (our decision of) 7 weeks, gave it the importance it deserved and the empowerment the pupils needed to complete it.

Overall, by the end, the course had exceeded our expectations in so many ways. The professional growth and development of our pupils is something they can now keep with them going forward. The relationships built is something that will only support other areas of schooling; it’s something to talk about in corridors and on the playground. The course material and support along the way was excellent and I am in no hesitation to do this again.

Thanks again Team ‘Apps for Good’ and especially Tayler Kirk, for all her support along the way!

What are the key skills that your students have developed by taking part in an Apps for Good course?
  • Presentations skills
  • Team building
  • Communication
  • Listening
  • Script writing skills
  • Digital/design/PowerPoint skills/marketing
  • Organisational/planning
  • Creative/initiative
  • Personnel management
  • Project management
  • Self-motivated/initiative/time management
  • Thinking about costs (i.e with their in-app purchases)
Do you feel delivering an Apps for Good course has had any impact on your teaching approach?

My teaching approach has developed in lots of interesting ways. I can now talk about apps confidently with my students. I am more assured when it comes to linking the curriculum to employability skills such as presenting, planning and organising. In tutor times, I am more enthused about encouraging pupils to become business minded in their general approach to their talents and thinking about ways of turning their talents into projects.

What does entering the Apps for Good Awards and making it to the finals mean to you and your students?

The awards brings much attention to the concepts of achievement and ambition, championed by the school. Entering the awards sets a huge precedent for the following year and has created such an enthusiasm among our pupils.

Getting one of our pupils to the finals is perhaps the biggest highlight of the year for myself, the student and the school. The student herself is generally very quiet and she was the only one in her team. To have her selected not only did so much for her self-esteem, but proved to others that they could also aspire to do the same.