Future of technology – is it being forged in Wick?

21st October 2016 from The John O'Groat Journal, 21/10/2016

The future of technology is not in San Francisco or London; it is in Wick.

That is the view of an apps development education programme which claims Wick High School is leading the world in technological education at secondary school level.

Thanks to its success, schools across Scotland are set to benefit by receiving funding to develop extra-curricular activities to promote app education.

Apps for Good, an education initiative designed to inspire children to create new apps which can help to change the world, has received funding from Digital Xtra to help grow after-school activities across Scotland.

The funding was awarded with thanks in part to Wick High School achieving national success in the Apps for Good initiative over the last three years where several pupils have gone on to create commercially successful apps.

In February, Wick High School pupils Konrad Szewczyk and John Sutherland launched One Click Politics, an app designed to get young people interested in politics.
Their idea was chosen as the winner of the information category at the Apps for Good awards 2015.

Wick High School has won more awards in the competition than any other school in the UK.

Apps for Good representatives have praised the high school, stating Wick is fast becoming one of the most important places in the world for technological development due to its success in getting teenagers interested in technology.

They said: “We think the future of tech isn’t in London or San Francisco, but in Wick – and places like it all over Scotland.”

Wick High School Computing Science teacher Chris Aitken has been at the forefront of encouraging pupils at S3 level to get inspired by technology and create award-winning apps.

Successful apps which have been devised by Wick High students include Chore Attack – a housework app designed by Katie Gunn, Meghan Lyon and Caitlyn Taylor – which encourages work-shy children and flatmates to do their fair share of housework, as well as a cattle management app which has also been produced commercially to help farmers with their livestock.

Phil Worms, computing and schools project lead at tech industry body ScotlandIS, said building on the successful foundation of Wick High students and with additional support from the Digital Xtra fund, work is being done to train more teachers and connect with more experts, as well as plans being put in place to host the first Scottish event to showcase talent.

“The Digital Xtra Fund aims to make a real and lasting impact in the provision of extracurricular computing science related activities for young people aged 16 years and under across the whole of Scotland.

“Apps for Good, along with all the other amazing extracurricular activities and projects being delivered across Scotland, offer scalability, sustainability and innovation and, most importantly, encourage our young people to participate and engage in computing activities, thus developing skills which will be vital for them to thrive in their future careers.”

The success of Wick High School has been highlighted across the world, with examples of pupils’ work being demonstrated in classrooms throughout Europe and North America. The number of Scottish schools taking part has grown significantly from just five in 2012 to 133 in 2015.

The John O'Groat Journal, 21/10/2016:

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