I love when students have an 'Aha' moment where they tangibly see why these skills are relevant and how they relate to the ‘real world”
We chatted with Kraig Brown, Partnerships & Development Manager at Digital Xtra Fund to hear his unique perspective on funding Apps for Good to help initiatives across Scotland to deliver the courses.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
I manage the digital skills charity Digital Xtra Fund. We work with industry and government to identify and support extracurricular digital tech activities for young people across Scotland. Digital Xtra Fund, our partners and the initiatives we support all share a common goal to help inspire young people to understand and create with technology, not simply use it.
My early career was in the sales and hospitality industries, however, I was always very interested in STEM and computing in school. As a result, I was excited to combine my career and interests when I took on a role at Edinburgh Science Festival in 2014. Since then, I have had the opportunity to work with and support a number of schools and STEM organisations across Scotland. Having worked with a number of STEM engagement organisations, I believe Apps for Good to be one of the best out there in terms of content and relevance.
How have you been working with Apps for Good?
Digital Xtra Fund has supported Apps for Good in Scotland, either directly or through partner organisations, every year since 2016. I have attended the Scottish events, and follow many of the Scottish teams on social media as they progress through to the Apps for Good Awards in London.
What makes Apps for Good special?
I am continuously impressed with the quality of the student projects from Apps for Good each year. Even more impressive is how passionate the students are about their projects. I thoroughly enjoy speaking with them at the Scottish event and reading the updates on social media. Their passion and ingenuity speak to the quality of the programme and it is clear Apps for Good makes computing science interesting and relevant for the students. It also gives them skills beyond coding including the opportunity to combine their skills and interests with helping others. The projects are extremely relevant to the world today and the digital needs of society.
I believe if we are to truly inspire the next generation to become developers and digital leaders, it is imperative we not only teach them digital skills but also show them the context in which these skills are relevant. Apps for Good does this very well through their various lessons and also by working with industry. These partnerships are key to showing young people where these skills can take them and the variety of jobs available.
Finally, I believe Apps for Good’s strategy to leverage the power of tech for good is an excellent way to help engage a more diverse audience - especially girls and young women. To me, the lessons and industry partnerships make Apps for Good a fantastic programme but it is the element of tech for good that makes it such a unique and powerful programme.
What do you think the students like best about taking part in Apps for Good?
I love when students have an 'Aha' moment where they tangibly see why these skills are relevant and how they relate to the "real world". I also think the fact these projects can make a positive impact for their families or community ensures many of the students are prouder of their work and more confident when speaking about it. I don’t know if this is at the forefront of their mind when they are creating and presenting their projects, but I think looking back many of them would point to that as something that made them consider a future in tech.
What is your favourite Apps for Good story?
When I speak about Apps for Good to industry partners I often tell them about 'SafeStep', a 2016/17 project from Dunoon Grammar. It was such a simple idea that could have so much benefit for families with members who suffer from dementia or mobility issues. It immediately hits home that these projects are not simple 'Cat Dancing on Screen' projects, but are real ideas from young people that have the potential to create a positive benefit.
We are celebrating a decade of Apps for Good, if you enjoyed this we have lots more for you to explore on our 10 years page, and here on our blog.