David Fox, software developer, talks about his mentoring role with Frankley School.
So one of the mentors that we've brought in to help with that is a professional app developer (professional coder). He's come in at the stage where some of the students have actually needed support with the coding side of the app.
My name's Dave Fox. I'm a software developer. I work for a small development company. We do work for commercial businesses locally. Being in the industry, I offered to come in and help mentor the children. When I could, come in, have a look at their apps gives them some advice and helped them technically with any challenges that they had.
(to students) And have you done any coding? Have you started putting it out there trying to put together?
We are trying to put together the search bar first and we're trying to utilize a database.
Okay. So one thing that you could think about if you wanted to get something up and running fast. To be able to… because you've got a really great idea... you want to be able to show people your application. You could do something called prototyping.
The mentoring role really involves just coming in and just allowing the kids to ask some questions in and pretty much just giving them some advice. If I can see there's something in particular they maybe haven't thought about perhaps an aspect of the user interface or they might have put something together that's not quite a standard way of doing things, I might offer some advice on that.
We've brought in experts that are working in that field because then our students get to see what those fields are like. We think it broadens their understanding about what they're doing. It starts to build those community partnerships. It starts to build the links between school and the outside world … or the world of employment.
They are getting a lot of skills out of this that can be put into the real world. And it's not just the coding - in fact I think that is probably a small part of it. They have to plan it out first. They have to have a think about what they want their app to do. Who it's going to be targeted for. They have to think about how it's going to look. Design the wireframes. They have to think about how they might market it. They're even asked to think about how much they might sell it for. So it's quite a fun exercise. And it really does mimic what someone would do in the real world if they were developing an app or coming up with a product idea that they go through that anyway.