Students shine at the final of national app competition

Year nine students Ethan Walsh and Harrison Gates, who were part of the Shoreham Academy team at the UnitedApp final
Year nine students Ethan Walsh and Harrison Gates, who were part of the Shoreham Academy team at the UnitedApp final

Year nine students from Shoreham Academy were challenged to create an idea for an educational app that they would find useful at school, with the chance to have it made and launched in the App Store.

Four students formed one of the teams selected for the final of the UnitedApp national competition, held at IBM’s headquarters in London.

The school’s app idea was created by Ethan Walsh, Harrison Gates, Euan Mills and Tommy Bowles. It was based on learning how to write code, aimed at helping computer science students become more successful and confident with their programming tasks through the use of tutorials following peers saying how useful this would be.

After being selected for the final, hosted by United Learning in partnership with 7billionideas, the team spent months preparing. This included doing last minute market research with their peers, finessing their designs and putting together a presentation that they hoped would impress the judges.

On the day of the final, the students got the chance to take part in a series of warm-up exercises and presentation workshops with students from IBM before it was their turn to take to the stage and present the idea.

Harrison Gates, Shoreham Academy finalist, said: “The overall experience was pretty cool, we got to meet some of the IBM students who helped us prepare our presentation. It was a nice day all together. I liked the activity where we had to build a spaghetti tower.”

The judges commended the idea from the group, unfortunately they missed out on the winning spot but the students said they enjoyed the experience.

Patricia Sheridan, curriculum lead for ICT and computing, said: “Another fantastic year for us taking part in the competition. Our students thoroughly enjoyed the whole process, they were encouraged to work as a team and tap into their creative minds.

“They delivered an excellent presentation to the judges, despite being a little nervous, they were calm and confident and their idea was well received. We are extremely proud.”

Shoreham Academy were part of the final shortlist of 11 teams taking part in the final.

Dominic Norrish, director of technology at United Learning, said: “Once again, the quality of entries from our secondary schools has been incredibly high, with a broad range of creative responses to the opportunities and challenges presented by school life.

“It is brilliant that, each year, UnitedApp demonstrates the impact that thoughtful use of technology can have in education – both in terms of supporting lessons directly and providing helpful resources for students to use outside of the classroom.”