Wouldn’t it be nice to finish 2019 with a heart-warming story about how children are using technology to make the world a better place? Well, three schoolgirls from the UK have been working with Microsoft to create an app that tackles bullying and loneliness.
Twelve-year-old Kaja and 13-year-olds Eylem and Wiktoria, from Gladesmore Community School in Tottenham, built the program to help a range of people of all ages who are looking for support.
They used Microsoft’s PowerApps platform, which lets people easily create, use, and share custom apps with others, to create the tool at a Microsoft DigiGirlz event in London recently.
Eylem said the girls’ Bloop app – which stands for Be Loving of Other People – “lets people tell us how they feel” and includes “meditation, relaxing games, calming music and contact details for services”.
The trio said they wanted to continue working on the app and see if they could roll it out to the public.
DigiGirlz is a global programme that gives young girls opportunities to learn about careers in technology, connect with Microsoft employees and take part in hands-on computer and technology workshops. The programme is growing in the UK with six events across the country every year.
Forty-six girls attended a recent DigiGirlz event at Microsoft’s office in Paddington to learn about careers in the technology sector and speak with women working at Microsoft.
Gladesmore won an award for having the most creative app, while Eastbury Community School, in Barking, won the award for best pitch and Lilian Baylis School, in London, won an award for an app that could have the biggest impact.
“DigiGirlz is a great opportunity for us, it’s so inspiring,” Wiktoria said. Kaja added that the team would share what they learnt with the rest of their school: “We will go back and present our idea in an assembly.”
All three said they would like to study Computer Science at GCSE level.
Barry Redman, who teaches Computer Science at Gladesmore, said: “DigiGirlz gives our pupils a chance to experience a real-life work environment and work with senior women in the technology sector. This kind of event and exposure will create engaged pupils and bring out their passion out.”
Kate Rosenshine, Head of Azure Cloud Solution Architecture at Microsoft UK, spoke to the girls at the London DigiGirlz event. She encouraged all the girls to be “creative and think about how to make a difference” when thinking about future careers.
Farryl McCaslin, DigiGirlz UK Project Coordinator, said: “Bringing young girls together with people like Kate and all the other volunteers that joined us on the day always creates a valuable experience. Using PowerApps at this DigiGirlz event gave the students an opportunity to work with the technology companies use to make apps every day, and the girls did a brilliant job. We hope they left the day safe in the knowledge that the technology career was an option for them, and that they are feeling inspired to pursue it.”
Ideas from other groups included revision apps to help their peers learn and using image recognition to advise users on how to recycle their waste.