The tech world has been trying to get kids interested in coding a for a few years now, with tech stars like Mark Zuckerberg banding with celebrities such as Will.i.am and Chris Bosh to make coding an attractive idea.
However, Australian schools are still struggling to fill computing-related courses. Figures from the NSW Board of Studies show that out of more than 60,000 students who completed the HSC in 2014, just over 2000 students studied the Information Processes and Technology subject, while only 1651 studied Software Design and Development. The numbers are similar around the country.
Australian web and app development startup Appster is looking to up those numbers. The company has partnered with Tasmania’s Department of Education to launch a new ICT course at New Town High School. The course, titled Game App Design, will be focused on coding and app creation.
Chris Deeley, head of ICT at New Town High School, said there is already a buzz around the school over the course, and his classes are completely full.
“I see ICT as an area that is continually changing and growing, so I am very excited to be giving our students the opportunity to engage in an area which is such a large part of the digital economy,” Deeley said.
“It is important that education delivery continues to evolve to better match the needs of business and industry, and this course is designed to make the learning relevant, rich, and provide real world experience to students.”
The course, led by Deeley and by facilitators and team leaders from Appster, has been offered to 90 students in years nine and ten. It aims to bring students up to speed on the history of apps and how they shape they way we interact with technology through to developing their own app and submitting it to the App Store. If their submission is successful, students will be taught how to market their app.
The focus on putting what’s taught into practice and seeing how it works through to marketing makes this an interesting initiative. Students today have grown up using Facebook and apps, and teaching them about the links between these apps and entrepreneurship could just be what makes taking a tech subject at school an attractive choice. No doubt there are many young adults today who would have taken a computer course at school if only they had known just how much money the founders of MySpace, Bebo, and LiveJournal were making.
Josiah Humphrey, co-CEO of Appster, said the partnership came about because Appster is always looking to change the status quo, and thought that partnering with a school may just be one way to do it.
“Being a part of this project means we get to make an impact on the future of so many and help them prepare for a world which every year is becoming increasingly technology reliant. We believe this course will give students an upper hand in securing a job, a job which may not even exist yet,” he said.
Deeley added that the course will help students examine and better understand the world around them.
“Promoting and assisting students as digital consumers as well as digital creators is a large part of learning in the 21st century, which includes the creation and development of apps.”