Getting girls interested in computing at Wick High School…there’s an app for that!

Chore Attack
The Cattle Manager app was presented by learners from Wick High School

Issued by Education Scotland


An innovative competition for school pupils to design a smartphone app has had a dramatic effect on the number of girls becoming interested in computing and computing science at Wick High School in the Highlands.

The Apps for Good competition, which is a national initiative for secondary school pupils to develop an app from an initial problem through to a working prototype of their design, has encouraged 40 percent more girls to participate in the course, more than had been seen before in any of the school’s normal computing classes.

Wick High has a strong track record in the Apps for Good initiative having won the UK-wide competition two years in a row. Their success has been used to inspire teachers from across the country as part of Education Scotland’s Journey to Excellence website, with a case study film created to share the schools work as an example of best practice.

The case study film, Creativity with ICT using the Apps for Good Competition, showcases the schools innovative practice in Creativity within ICT, which has been designed to complement Education Scotland’s 3-18 thematic reviews of Creativity which were published last year.

Thomas McIntyre, Headteacher of Wick High School, said: “The competition is a fantastic challenge for our learners to compete with schools from across the UK to develop and build an app from scratch, with the winning designs made into real-life apps for smartphone users.

“The competition has had a dramatic effect on the number of girls interested in computing as it is less about programming and more about the whole creative process. Pupils develop their own idea, work on a business plan and marketing ideas, which put the emphasis on learning real-life skills that employers want to see.

“We’re really excited that Education Scotland has included our case study film to feature on the Journey to Excellence website. Being involved in the competition has led to great benefits for our pupils with the links we have developed between the school and industry providing opportunities both the learners and staff wouldn’t normally have access to.”

Lesley Brown, Assistant Director for Families, Inclusion and Local Authorities at Education Scotland, said: “We are really pleased to launch this case study from Wick High School exemplifying features of innovative work in creativity.

“We hope this is a helpful professional learning resource that will support practitioners in developing their practice that in turn improves outcomes for children and young people. I would like to thank the practitioners, learners and all who were involved in sharing their practice. We look forward to further expanding on this with more examples of how our schools are leading the way in developing learning opportunities unique to their learners.”

The film case study by Wick High School is one of 34 case studies available from the Journey to Excellence website to demonstrate the breadth and depth of quality learning experiences for children and young people across a range of settings.

The films will sit alongside a range of resources on the JtE website for practitioners to build their capacity for improvement through reflection, discussion and planning for change. The film case study is available to download free from our Journey to Excellence website or iTunesU.

For more information please contact Paul Williams or 07931168098.

17 Nov 2014
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