When savvy students decided to create and sell their own maths app, they knew they had a captive market. After all, every young person has to study maths at school. They can’t escape it, even if they close their eyes and daydream through period two on a Monday.
Rather than make the subject a chore, the group from St John Fisher Catholic College, in Newcastle, wanted to bring it to life.
So they teamed up with technical experts at Keele University and launched their own business. The app, called Numero, went live last week and it’s already led to them being crowned Staffordshire champions in a Young Enterprise competition.
For £1.99, you can download the augmented reality-based software from the App Store and get a set of cards to use with it. You then simply scan a card on your iPhone or iPad and up pops an impressive 3D graphic to illustrate a question.
The students have written 75 questions so far, mostly linked to the key stage three curriculum. It means 11 to 14-year-olds can revise topics such as probability, volume, ratios and graphs and then pit their wits against the clock to test their knowledge. You’ll also find a few brain teasers pitched at GCSE maths foundation level.
The students are hoping to attract interest from schools across the country. And they are already looking at adding more content, along with a leaderboard so young people can compete to achieve the highest scores. Next up could be a science app, using the same technology.
The project is a great example of enterprise education in action. But all too often, young people miss out on these kind of opportunities during their school days.
A recent British Chamber of Commerce workforce survey found 50 per cent of firms thought young people lacked basic skills. It’s often the so-called soft skills, such as confidence, communication, problem-solving and teamwork that are missing.
That’s where the charity Young Enterprise is keen to make a mark. Every year, it supports more than 250,000 students, who learn a range of practical skills and work alongside business mentors.
There’s even a Young Enterprise scheme for primary pupils called the fiver challenge. Five to 11-year-olds get to create a product and turn a profit – all in the space of a month. Through investing their £5 in a brainwave, they also learn financial numeracy.
Secondary age students can complete the tenner challenge or spend a year running their own mini-company with school mates. Just like St John Fisher’s award-winning team, they can develop a product to market at trade fairs. Each student company has its own board of directors and an MD.
And for degree students, there’s something called the start-up programme. Some of these young entrepreneurs choose to run a social enterprise so they can give something back to the local community.
Young Enterprise is a great charity that really makes a difference. But the impact would be far greater if schools built similar opportunities into the actual curriculum. Let’s make running a mini-business venture part of every pupil’s experience.
St John Fisher’s Numero app could be the start of a revolution in our schools.