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This post was authored by Vanessa Rhinesmith and originally appeared on the NetSquared blog.
A couple of weeks ago NPR ran a segment entitled, A New Generation of App Developers,
discussing the emergence of creative and youthful app developers. This
story chronicled a middle school student who built an app to help him
stay organized in the coming year and the revelation that more and more
young people are developing their own creative solutions to problems.Not
only did the piece showcase the uniqueness of this particular student,
but also the opportunity to cultivate creativity through technical
awareness and skills development in children, teens, and young adults.Organizations are helping to facilitate these conversations and learnings globally. Two such organizations are Apps for Good and Youth Radio's Mobile Action Lab, which are teaching youth to learn, create, and improve their communities through the development of apps.Apps for Good "is an award-winning course where young people learn to create imaginative mobile apps that change their world." Powered by CDI,
Apps for Good is working with youth in the UK to teach them how to
utilize technology to develop solutions to social challenges. These
skills are taught through a practical hands-on course that guides
participants through identifying a problem and developing a
Some of the apps created by youth who have completed the program include:
Youth Radio's Mobile Action Lab
is an organization based out of Oakland, California. As a 2010 winner
of the MacArthur Foundation's Digital Media and Learning global
competition Youth Radio's Mobile Action Lab is encouraging community
improvement through app development. Youth Radio's mission is to connect
Oakland-based young people with pro developers and entrepreneurs to
propose, develop, and market apps that serve community needs. Apps
created by youth involved in Mobile Action Lab include:
Stanford Professor Ge Wang notes in the NPR piece, "more kids are
learning to build apps now because, well, they can." Today many youth
have access to the tools to play, create, and build. Before, app
development used to be the sole purview of hard-core programmers and
hackers. Today, these items are accessible to a larger array of youth
either in their own home.Organizations such as Apps for Good and
Mobile Action Lab help to provide even
greater access for youth and foster empowerment through skills
development and creativity. Not only are participants enhancing their own self confidence, but also shaping their communities for the better in the process. Are
you involved in a youth app development program? How are you enabling
youth to develop socially oriented apps. Do you know of an organization
in your area? Please share it here or in the comments on the original post.