Essex students show off their app development talents

The pupils from Year 8 and 9 took part in a challenge organised by STEMNET and BT, the official communications services partner of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games which encouraged 11 to 14-year-olds to design an iPhone App.
The focus was on the Olympic value of equality and the Apps had to focus on helping people with disabilities.
Entrants did not have to build the App but had to give a 15-minute presentation on their design and answer questions from a panel of judges.
The year 8 team designed an App to help blind people around the site.
It worked in similar fashion to a Sat Nav, so the phone located the person using GPS, listened to instructions as to where they wanted to go and then gave specific directions on how to get there.
Included was information on how to get to all the stadiums and arenas, cafes, restaurants, transport hubs and where to find other facilities such as toilets.
The year 9 team’s App helped people who are hard of hearing or have visual impairments navigate the Olympic site and get up-to-date information. The App could be accessed using voice commands (for the blind) or using zoom-in functions.
For the hard of hearing they provided a live updated news feed on the screen of the commentary and options to read or listen to current scores. It gave information on history and details on each stadium.
Lizzy Murdock, science teacher and the school’s gifted and talented co-ordinator for science, said: “All the students presented brilliantly.
“The judges were very impressed with both their ideas and confident presentations and the answers that they gave to the questions.
“They were also very impressed with the Year 8 team for using their skills from animation club to illustrate what their App would look like.”
The school’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and medicine) club will continue to work on projects and enter competitions throughout the year.
The club is open to all Year 7 to 9 pupils who are gifted and talented in science or want to go into STEM careers.