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Student teams respond to Innovation Challenge

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Student teams from across curriculums at Dearne Valley College (DVC), including Computing and Digital, Health and Social Care and Sport, have been recognised for their fantastic efforts in a Rotherham Council-led competition.

The ‘Innovation Challenge’ tasked the students with designing an app that could help promote healthy and active lifestyles amongst local communities’ younger generations.

Level 3 Health and Social Care student Kaleigh Burke said: “We’ve been awarded a finalist certificate. It was about making an app regarding how to eat healthy for kids. It’s been a good project centred on health and fitness.”

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Kaleigh’s team and classmate Abbi Rushton added: “We made a PowerPoint to show our design ideas for the app. Others in the group used these to move the project forward; it’s been a good team effort. I hope it helps kids’ health and gets them out in the open.”

Teams involved students across different curriculum combining their know-how to work together in developing the app. Kaleigh and Abbi’s team also included Level 3 Computing students, Jack Taylor and Leo Taylor.

Discussing how their efforts came together, Jack described how he “took the ideas we came up with as a group and developed an interface for the user. These clearly defined roles helped us work better for a good end result. It feels amazing to have been rewarded for our efforts.”

Leo added: “I made the home screen for everything to link from and came up with achievements for the app to reward the user with. My advice for becoming fit is to take it steady and not just dive in as that can be overwhelming; take it a bit at a time.”

As part of a separate student group, Level 3 Health and Social Care student Amy Walker echoed Leo’s health advice with “Something I learnt more about was how big of an impact your eating really can have on your health. It’s all about habits and changing negatives to positives one at a time.”

Brimming with ideas, the students also had ideas for interactive games.

Level 3 Health and Social Care student Aimee Winstanley said: “I designed a game in the app – you drag and drop things on to a plate and it tells you nutritional info about the foods. There were moments where you had to rack your brain for ideas and to be honest we’re quite proud to have something we can say we’ve achieved, likewise for the certificate!

“My mum’s quite happy about it!”

Designed for local youngsters, the app needed to be developed with the age range of 4-11 year olds in mind. Level 3 Health and Social Care student Dianna Miller took charge of this responsibility.

Dianna said: “I helped with final touches and tailored the app’s appearance for who we intended to use it for. Because it’s for children, I’d take teammates’ ideas, along with child development knowledge from Health and Social Care teammates, and make them user friendly for the target age group.

“An example was using a star rating for the app’s info, such as videos, which would show the user how complex the info was and help them choose the right kind of content to read, view or play.”

Though there was a healthy dose of determination, the student teams were guided by Digital Technology Assistants, Amy Smallman and Callum Goulty.

Looking back on the project, Amy said: “Because of Covid, the process was mainly virtual. It’s funny to say, but today’s the first time I’ve met some of the students in person!

“When you could see the students really motivated to put in the effort you’d feel quite proud. It’s been interesting to hear their ideas, plus there’s plenty that didn’t make the cut that were great too, so the standard of work has been quite high.”

Callum added: “The students were quite smart in their approach – they worked backwards in the sense that they made sure they understood the context first (promoting health and fitness) and anchored their ideas to this as they made progress.

“At first I had what I suppose would be cynicism about how the different curriculums would mix, but it was nice to see just how quickly they meshed together. They all jumped in headfirst and worked collaboratively really well!”

Images: DVC

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Tom Austen
Tom grew up in Aston, Rotherham and studied Human Geography at Nottingham Trent University before developing a passion for promoting Rotherham and a nose for a good story.

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