Learnings from a pilot app design course

29 July 2022

A student enjoying the Apps for Good course

Apps for Good computing courses give students the skills and motivation to shape their future with technology.  With generous support from partners, including the WCIT Charity, their courses are 100% free to schools.

In 2021 Apps for Good received a grant from the WCIT Charity to test a new version of its App Development course, specifically designed for young people aged 11-14 with mild to moderate special educational needs.

The disruption of Covid and subsequent school closures in 2021 meant the organisation could only engage with six schools and fewer students than anticipated. However, Apps for Good were still able to learn how the course could best be delivered.

Feedback from the schools confirmed that the students were engaged with the concept, the teachers appreciated the cross-curricular links within the course and how the lessons were broken down into a clear sequence of learning. The level of content was considered appropriate, and the students enjoyed using App Lab to prototype their designs, which then received feedback from industry professionals. You can read more feedback from Stony Dean School in Buckinghamshire here.

There were many incremental learnings from this pilot, but the key takeaway was that the teachers were experts in adapting learning content for the specific needs of their students. They appreciated the structure Apps for Good provided, the range of activities and the tech tools, but used them in their own bespoke way. Overall, the content was considered age-appropriate for the students, and feedback informed improvements to how tools such as App Lab can be framed to show how that type of tool is used by professionals in the tech industry.

Apps for Good believes that it is important for all students to have an equal opportunity to develop tech innovation skills to enable them to thrive in a changing world, regardless of their learning needs. Following this pilot, Apps for Good has decided that instead of creating a specific course for students in Special Educational Needs Schools, they will ensure all of their courses are accessible to everyone. Indeed, it has already put this into practise with its new Innovate for Climate Change course.  You can also read more about how the organisation uses inclusive design in their blog.

Speaking about the pilot, the Head of Fundraising and Partnerships Matt Guy said: “Support from WCIT Charity has enabled us to test the accessibility of our content, receive feedback and improve the way we design our courses to enable all students to benefit, equally. Thank you for your invaluable support.”