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18 Year old develops Education App to keep track of School work

Zach Smith

Zach Smith, a student at Dwight-Englewood School in New Jersey, had a problem. The 18 year old was frustrated with his school’s learning management system, and to get over this problem, he designed an app that would bring together your homework, your schedule and everything you need all in one place to make it easy for students.

That idea put Zach on a path that would find him learning the finer points of UX design, working with coding platforms and, importantly, earning the confidence and trust of the administrators at the school. Here are some of the takeaways of Zach’s journey from ideation to the launch of MyDE+, and what comes next.

Getting the big idea

“A few summers ago, I was getting really into user experience design and I was kind of designing all these different app ideas that I had in my head. And one of them was to make an app for my school. We needed something that would bring all aspects of our schedules and assignments into one place. So I thought, why not design this app idea around it and see how I can kind of improve the user experience?”

First steps

“I started with Figma, just wireframing and prototyping what the app would look like. And once I had a solid design down, I met with my Dean at school and pitched him the app. Our principal happened to walk by and was like, ‘Whoa, that looks super cool, how do we get this in our school?’ And I don’t think he realized it was just a design. So now I had to get to work building the app, and I had no idea what I was doing.”

Bumps in the road

“At first I was considering teaching myself how to code or if I would need to hire someone to make this app. That’s when I discovered all of these no-code tools. I decided on one called Adolo, which was just super easy to use. I was able to create a working front end, but then I had my biggest challenge: how do I integrate it with the school’s learning management system? I asked the head of our school technology to give me access to the school’s servers and he said no because it would be a big security and privacy concern. So I was stuck with a huge problem until I realized that in the LMS you could get a calendar feed URL and that gave me a workable data point.”

Getting it to beta

“The next question was how do I get this to automate and get it on the phones of 500 kids in the school?” So I discovered this other tool called Make, which is kind of like a business automation tool. And I repurposed it to essentially download the app and send everyone a push notification. I probably had 70 or so kids at my school who were just beta testing the app and giving really great feedback and then. At the beginning of this year, I came back to my principaland said, ‘I think the app is really ready to go.’ So I met with every grade at the school and showed them how to download the app and set it up with their calendar. I conducted demonstrations for a month until I had 500 users on the app, which is almost my entire school.”

Passion for problem-solving

“I’ve been talking with other heads of technology of schools in New York City and adding all kinds of new features like community pages. In terms of what comes next, I really have a passion for honing in on problems and finding great solutions. I just love when I can see an idea in my head, and follow it through from start to finish. I broke down all of the problems I encountered building MyDE+, and looked at them as technical challenges, which made them easier to overcome. And I will use that process for whatever comes next.”

Posted on Category:News

Meet Dr Taisser Atrak, who has dedicated his life to child safety

Dr Taisser Atrak has been trying to prevent child deaths and injuries to road accidents and drowning with an impressive and determined awareness campaign in Abu Dhabi.

Child safety and prevention of injury are issues close to the heart of this Abu Dhabi Awards winner, who is also the chairman at the department of paediatrics and consultant neonatologist in Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City (SSMC).

Since moving from the US to Abu Dhabi in 2008, Dr Atrak developed an awareness campaign on child safety while on the road and both at home and school. As part of the programme, he has been providing Paediatric First Aid for Caregivers and Teachers (PedFACTs) training on basic first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and fundamentals of child’s safety in cars and buses to families, caregivers of children, teachers, nannies and bus drivers. He has become a well-known figure for his tireless service to the community and concern for child safety and wellbeing.

“I dedicated myself to this cause after seeing so many preventable injuries and deaths happening and due to lack of caregivers’ awareness and education on basic measures and skills that can save lives. Public awareness, education and training in basic skills can save lives and make a significant difference in children’s health and safety,” said Dr Atrak, an American Board-certified consultant neonatologist.

Dr Atrak volunteers his time and funds the free to attend training sessions and workshops, which have helped in saving the lives of children during unexpected and emergency situations, where quick response is needed.

Asked what drives him to continue his safety campaign for more than a decade now, he pointed out that “sustainability of such programmes is important”.

“I still conduct with my team training in CPR for families, car safety seats’ education and other initiatives. Past June, we had a large campaign including a stand at Galleria Mall where we trained more than 600 families in car seats and CPR. This was sponsored by SSMC in partnership with Mayo Clinic. We went to a number of majlis, schools, Zayed Organisations and other centres conducting child safety activities. These initiatives were extremely successful with positive feedback from attendees and a high number of likes and views on social media.”

Dr Atrak also developed several programmes and health initiatives on child safety, including a head cooling system for newborns and the early hearing detection and intervention. Receiving the Abu Dhabi Awards, the highest civilian honour, in 2011, has put spotlight on his work and turned him into a role model.

“In my professional life, Abu Dhabi Awards placed higher expectation and moved me to higher level as it opened many doors with government entities for shining the light on my initiatives, such as working with the Ministry of Interior for car seat laws as technical expert and working with Department of Health – Abu Dhabi on injury prevention initiatives and programmes. As the Abu Dhabi Awards is widely recognised, many entities were inspired and followed our initiatives as they introduced child safety programmes in their organisations.”

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Google Family Link app roles out new child movement alert features

Google’s Family Link app is a very useful app for parents to control their children’s activities on phones. In the latest update, Google has introduced new value-added security features with improved tracking capabilities. The most popular features such as screen time limits and blocking and approving apps to the forefront for easy access.

Also, a central place has been created for viewing requests and notifications sent from children.

Furthermore, there is a special ‘Today only’ feature wherein kids can seek their parent’s permission to increase screen time or approve app installation or view a certain website. The feature will override the general screen time limit settings for that particular day only.

Now, the Controls tab enables parents to supervise with the ability to set screen time limits for each device or for specific apps, set content restrictions, and manage app data permissions, Google said.

And, with the new Location tab, parents get a full view of the map with children’s location in a single frame on the phone. Also, Google has added valuable information such as the battery life of their kids’ phones and the ability to ring the child’s device to find it – for instance, when it gets misplaced within the home like between the couch cushions.

Most importantly, parents can turn on notifications to be alerted when their child arrives at or leaves a specific destination like school or from a private cricket practice ground.

And, lastly, Google Family Links gets a new The Highlights tab. As the name suggests, parents will get to see a snapshot of the child’s app usage, screen time, and recently installed apps all in one frame on the phone. This way, users can understand how the child has been using the device

Posted on Category:News

Interesting Facts about Schooling Around the World

Our latest study on schooling around the world gives an overview of the state of education and literacy in some parts of the world.

Education is fundamental to growth and development.

Education is one crucial resource for kids all over the world. Have you ever wondered what it’s like to go to school in other countries? Each country has different circumstances under which children attend school.

It’s a sad truth that in some parts of the world, students have to overcome challenging circumstances to even get to class despite the war, political unrest, and poverty, while others enjoy the perks of elite educational institutions.

Here’s a glimpse of the state of schooling around the world.

Quick World Facts

According to UNESCO, there are approximately 1.29 billion students on earth, which is 17% of the world’s population. One out of 3 adults have completed their studies in the university before they are 30, and 1 out of these 5 adults are in developing countries.

The number of students will continue to grow. In his book, Higher Education consultant Bob Goddard says that by 2025, there will be a total of 262 million students around the world enrolled in higher education. Migration for education purposes will also be a popular choice for most students, as it is predicted that 8 million students will travel around the world to study by 2025.

Education Compared

  • Children in Finland don’t start school in ages 6th or 7th but rank first in Science and Maths
  • In India, theirs is a large gap in literacy rates between boys (88%) and girls (74%)
  • Only 34% of adults in Australia have Bachelor’s Degrees. By 2050, the goal is to reach 40%
  • In the Philippines, significantly more girls than boys attend school
  • Russia has a 97% enrolment rate – that’s a high rate compared to other countries
  • At age 18, students in Germany have the option of becoming an apprentice in a career they choose to pursue
  • South America and Europe have youth literacy rates of 90-100%
  • In the sub-Saharan region, 11.7 million children leave school before completing their primary education

Out of School

Around the world, 59 million children are being denied an education. Sixty-five million adolescents don’t have access to secondary school. There are 75 million children with disrupted education due to conflicts and natural disasters.

While other children are deprived, some students have chosen to dropout of school for personal or financial reasons. As of 2012, there are 31 million primary school children who have dropped out from school.

Gender Gap

The gender gap in education is real and it exists until now. Not all male and female children have equal opportunities when it comes to education. This is affected by factors such as culture and poverty. Data from research suggests that nearly 15 million primary school-aged girls will never have the opportunity to read and learn in primary school. Meanwhile, there are 10 million boys who can’t have the same opportunity.

Boys are more likely to repeat grades or drop out from school. On a global scale, 2 out of 3 illiterate people are women. This translates to 53% of the world’s out-of-school children are girls.

Illiteracy around the world

While Literacy is a good measure of educational achievement in developing regions, Illiteracy, on the other hand, is a major problem that every nation must address. The United Nations defines an illiterate person as someone who cannot, with understanding, both read and write a short, simple statement on his or her everyday life. A person who can only read but not write, or can write but not read is also considered to be illiterate.

There are a total of 774 million people in the world who are illiterate.

  • In Afghanistan, 28% are illiterate, where only 12% of women can read.
  • Nigeria, Pakistan, and Ethiopia have over a million girls who are not in school. Nigeria has 5.5 million; Pakistan has 3 million, and Ethiopia, 1 million.
  • The African continent has areas with less than 50% literacy among children aged 18 and under.

Amid these differences, one thing still hasn’t changed. The power of learning can help kids all over the world reach their full potential.  As United Nations put it, “Education is the human passport to development.”

News courtesy : Edarabia