As we're always on the lookout for young people with great coding, problem solving, design and teamwork skills, we were thrilled to be invited to mentor the next generation of digital talent at the Apps for Good showcase event in Edinburgh last week.
While Apps for Good has been delivering app development courses to Scottish schools since 2012, this was the first ever event to be held in Scotland. With a mission to give young people the skills and confidence to create digital products, it was an honour to take part in this global movement to enable children to become digital ‘makers’ rather than just consumers.
The event brought together over 100 students from participating schools around Scotland to take part in networking and skills development workshops. On the run up to the day, the children had been learning to create mobile apps that would tackle issues and problems relevant to them. During the ‘marketplace’ session, students pitched their app prototypes and ideas in order to benefit from the expertise of people working in the industry.
Our role was to meet the teams from each school and give them advice and feedback on their pitches and prototypes. With an age range of 8-18 years, the apps reflected a number of issues important to a variety of age groups. From helping with times tables or learning to be an adult to supporting children through a bereavement – there was an incredible variety of cool ideas and creativity on show.
We also had the chance to cast our vote in the People's Choice Award which gives special recognition to the best three teams. The top prize went to Dunoon Grammar for their awesome SafeStep app - a range of potentially life-saving rugs with inbuilt pressure sensors that determine if somebody has fallen and uses the app to alert their carers.
SafeStep's win was well deserved, but we have to confess that one of our favourites was the awesome Midge Forecast from Wick High in Caithness which uses open weather and topography data to predict midge outbreaks around Scotland. The ideas and prototype were incredibly well-executed and the team were really passionate and knowledgeable about their product.
The app ticked all the boxes of useful, innovative and eminently marketable as the team demonstrated through their creative ideas and copywriting.
Overall, all the teams impressed us although we’re slightly scared to witness all this talent at such a young age. It won’t be long before these kids put us out of a job that’s for sure!
Photo credits: All photographs reproduced with kind permission from Apps for Good.