SSilver - Fotolia

Apps for Good launch 2016 – the apps from the minds of young entrepreneurs

The 2015-2016 cohort of mobile applications built by young people to tackle real-world problems has now been released for download

The group of winners for the latest round of the Apps for Good awards have had their applications released for download on Google Play.

For the fifth year in a row, students between the ages of 12 and 18 were challenged to submit ideas for applications that would solve real-world problems under the categories information, sustainable communities, connected communities, productivity, learning and saving.

After coming first in their categories in June 2015, the winning teams worked with developers from Apps for Good’s partners to produce and launch their applications.

“We have some amazing apps this year. At the awards in June, the teams had such fantastic and original ideas that we weren't even sure if technology would be able to keep up with them! It is the combination of the vision of young people and the passion of teachers and professionals that really brings technology to life.” said Apps for Good co-CEO Debbie Forster.

The winning teams were:

  • One Click Politics in the information category, sponsored by Thomson Reuters, which aims to help young people better understand politics, by students in Wick High School in Caithness.
  • GardenKing in the sustainable communities category, sponsored by Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, which helps users identify and understand more about plants around them and how to care for them, developed by students from Latymer Upper School in Hammersmith.
  • Sound Clash in the connected communities category, sponsored by TalkTalk, which allows users to pair devices so music can be listened to and amplified using multiple smartphones or tablets, by students at Latymer Upper School in Hammersmith.
  • BOOKd in the productivity category, sponsored by SAP, which encourages users to create reading lists, rate books and share book lists for reading groups, by students from Dr Challoner’s Grammar School in Amersham.
  • My World of Atoms from the learning category, sponsored by Samsung, which uses gamification to teach children about the periodic table, by students from The Boswells School in Chelmsford.
  • Jobs 4 You from the saving, spending and giving category, sponsored by Barclaycard, which helps students and school leavers find and apply for student-friendly local work, by students at Priestley College in Warrington.
  • Who Cares? from the People’s Choice Award category, sponsored by Essence, which has been designed as a support network for young carers around the UK, by students from Denbigh High School in Luton.

The winning teams also completed the 2014 to 2015 Apps for Good course on how to turn ideas into technology products.

Read more about technology skills

  • IT firms are in need of candidates with interpersonal skills, as well as specific technical focuses.
  • A programme has been launched by the mayor of London to ensure young people in the capital are learning digital skills.

The course has been running since 2010, and has now worked with over 50,000 students in more than 1,000 schools across the world.

Bob Schukai, global head of mobile technology at Thomson Reuters – sponsors of Apps for Good – explained that, since its launch in 2010, the programme has grown to become a network for young entrepreneurs.

“There was a real coding focus at the start of Apps for Good but now it’s really about entrepreneurship and teaching kids the skills they’re going to need to compete in a 21st century economy.” Schukai said.

As part of the event past winners and participants of the awards, labelled “fellows”, joined to help explain the process of apps for good competition and support the most recent winners.

This included Mohima Ahmed who originally won alongside her team from a school in Tower Hamlets, who developed a translation application for parent-teacher conferences.

“From day one of Apps for Good it was obvious this wasn’t your normal after-school course – they gave us responsibility, they told us what needed to be done and it was very obvious that if we wanted to do well we had to be active,” said Ahmed, who is now a university student.

“It’s not just a course that you do and at the end get a certificate – there’s an entire cycle. We re-use our students and we give them new opportunities and keep telling them to come back.”

The next round of Dragon’s Den style pitches will begin in June 2016.

Read more on Mobile apps and software