In January 2012, the Technology Volunteers from the University of Warwick came along to speak to our Seniors and Brigaders about designing a mobile phone app. The girls were so enthusiastic at the workshop that they were encouraged to enter the BCS Challenge IT 2012 Competition.
The girls were split into two teams and each team designed their own mobile phone app considering target audience, consistency of design, function screens and security. Both teams worked exceptionally hard at Company and at home to complete the competition entry in quite a short space of time.
Rebecca Bartlett, Alice Cobert, Izzy McQuillan, Hollie Jenkins, Caitlin Gadsby-Leonard and Laura Keep worked together as a team called ‘Wanna B Celebs’. They designed an app called Celebrity Takeover where players get to live the virtual life of a celebrity.
Charlotte Adams, Louise McGeachan, Emily Cobert, Amy Jelley, Georgina Townsend and Lucy Johnston called themselves the ‘Home Creators’. They created an app called ‘House in your hands’ where people can control different functions in the home remotely such as lighting, TV and even running the bath! The app also included a function to find seasonal recipes and link to an online service to purchase ingredients.
We were all absolutely thrilled when both teams got shortlisted for the finals with the chance of winning some vouchers. The girls were keen to win to use the vouchers to buy a Company laptop so set to work to agree how to display and present their entry within the table and display board size available to them on the day. Some photos from the event are included here, but more photographs are available here.
The girls had a ‘practice run’ and set their displays up at Company and a panel of three adults (thank you Richard, Jon and Lynne) and numerous Juniors asked the teams questions and got them used to explaining their app.
On Thursday 15 March 12 girls and 4 adults accompanied by some parents arrived to set up displays of the apps at The Hub, Coventry University. A panel of twenty judges (wearing judging hats) walked around and spoke to the team members – asking them to explain how they had designed the app, what it included, how they worked as team, how they had tested their target market etc.
The girls did really well and it was a real privilege to see them in their Girls’ Brigade uniforms amongst pupils from Blue Coat, Bablake and King Henry’s. We were the only community group in the finals. The event was hosted by JD from Mercia Sound much to the girls excitement!
After an interval, some sandwiches and cakes, the results of the competition were announced. Unfortunately, neither team won a prize but, the competition was strong and considering our apps had been designed theoretically using paper and pens and were displayed with Lego and Barbie dolls and lamps rather than using IT equipment or having access to IT teachers, the girls really did do well to even get to the finals. We were all disappointed but, the girls were all very grown up about losing and once again did us proud.
The feedback from the judges said the strengths of the teams included:
– their enthusiasm and teamwork
– their verbal presentations
– the organisation an structure of their display
– the originality of the ideas
One judge said of the ‘House in your hands’ – “a great app – I want one!” It really was a good experience for the girls and our thanks go to Margaret for encouraging us to participate.
The girls said “Our favourite things were sharing our ideas with others – even though we were nervous of the judges at first! It was a great learning experience and we liked working in the different teams with people we don’t normally work with …. And we got to miss an afternoon off school and meet JD from Mercia Sound”. Who knows – maybe one day you may see their app implemented for real!