Technology leaders strengthen students’ STEM skills to fight global issues

Arm and Codehouse, together with Cambridge LaunchPad challenged Year 8 students to create app ideas that would address one of the UN’s sustainable development goals, by raising awareness and helping to solve local environmental, health or climate issues.

Simon Humphrey, senior sustainability manager at Arm, said

“Our work in education is focused on solving the shortage of young people, especially women, pursuing careers in STEM. Through Launchpad and the collaboration between businesses and schools, and with events such as this one held at Arm, we are able to reach students in the Cambridge area to engage and inspire them to consider the opportunities a career in tech could provide.”

Students from Coleridge Community College, North Cambridge Academy and the Cambridgeshire Home Educating Families developed innovative and unique ideas, ranging from an app that alerts nominated contacts or the emergency services if the user has an epileptic fit to a reward-based app that encourages users to eat healthily or an app that will help to reduce plastic in the ocean.

A Year 8 student from Coleridge Community College, said

“I really enjoyed the chance to get out of the classroom and see how these activities work in the real world. I liked the mix between creative tasks, like the logo design, and more technical tasks, like prototyping which was much harder than I thought. The whole day has been really fun!”

A team from each school was selected to attend a STEM activity day at Arm’s global headquarters in Cambridge and learn more about the app development process from design and branding through to prototyping and testing. In addition to working with volunteers from Arm and Codehouse to refine their app ideas, the students had the opportunity to develop the launch page of their app, including designing their product and company logos, and building a working prototype. The teams then pitched their apps to a panel of experts.

EcoResource, the team from North Cambridge Academy, astounded the Arm judges with the creativity, sophistication and usability of their points-based recycling app. The students will attend a prize trip that will take place in July, alongside students from other schools and colleges that are taking part in Cambridge LaunchPad.

Carol Szyszlyk, Student Services Manager at North Cambridge Academy, said

“The experience of today will benefit our students by expanding their knowledge and boosting their confidence. Every aspect of designing the app was talked through thoroughly and there was plenty of support from Arm and LaunchPad for every little problem that arose. Thoroughly enjoyable day for both students and staff.”

This STEM outreach programme, managed by Form the Future CIC, introduces young people to inspiring real-life role models who are passionate about their careers and break gender stereotypes. Arm are one of four Founding Partners of the programme.

Anna Aldred, STEM Outreach and Cambridge LaunchPad Project Manager at Form the Future CIC, said

“What another fabulous day from a Cambridge LaunchPad Founding Partner! It’s been great for the students to have the opportunity to take an initial idea that they wrote down on paper, all the way through to the prototype stage. It has been a challenging day but I know that everyone has learnt a lot and had an amazing time.”

If you want to inspire the next generation in our STEM outreach programme, Please contact us at cambridge-launchpad@formthefuture.org.uk.

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