Belfast Telegraph

Apps for Good Competition: Savvy students set to see their digital dreams become reality

Katie Wright on the winners of this year's Apps for Good contest

Everybody's got an idea for an app that they reckon would make them the next Mark Zuckerberg, haven't they? If only they could afford to jack in their day job and get it made.

Well, thanks to the Apps for Good Competition, six groups of school children will now see their digital dreams become a reality, as their apps go into production.

Now in its fifth year, the annual contest is open to any students who study the Apps for Good course in school, which teaches 10 to 18-year-olds how to create applications that "change the world for good".

Whittled down from hundreds of entries and 15 finalists, the winning apps include Lilies, created by a group of girls aged 13 and 14 from Stratford Girls' Grammar School, Warwickshire, which supports youngsters who have lost a loved one, and Donate iT, which facilitates the donation of IT equipment and furniture to charities, the brainchild of a pair of 18-year-olds from Connell Sixth Form College in Manchester.

"We were very, very proud when we won, because we worked we really hard, and we really connected with this app," said the Lilies team, already sounding like Silicon Valley pros.

The winners weren't all tech-savvy teens, though.

A quintet of nine and 10-year-olds from Westfields Junior School, Hampshire, won in the information category, with an app, called Fear Nothing, that helps children deal with phobias, while five girls aged 10 and 11 from Coleridge Primary School, London, won the People's Choice award with Changes, which provides information about puberty for children too nervous to ask grown-ups.

"It was unbelievable, we had to pinch ourselves - it felt like a dream when we won," said the Changes team. "Because we didn't win our category, we thought we lost. But, then, we won the public vote. It was so amazing."

The winners will now be working with developers to create the software, with the aim of launching the apps by February next year.

Given that successful apps regularly change hands for millions - sometimes billions - of dollars, this kind of experience could come in very handy later in life for these youngsters.

"Our mission at Apps for Good is to equip these young people with the skills to allow them to move from being technology consumers to technology creators," says Debbie Forster, co-CEO of Apps for Good.

"The entrants for this year's competition were among the best we have ever had. We're incredibly excited to have such talented and creative students taking part and believe Britain's future as a tech hub is bright."

Belfast Telegraph