UPDATE 13 September 2018: St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School Como – Oyster Bay has won a national technology award with its feel-good app created to improve students’ mental health.
The school’s Year 5 students took out the Junior Students category in the Australian Information Industry Association’s (AIIA) National iAwards for 2018 with their HappyNess App.
AIIA is Australia’s peak industry body for the technology sector.
Presenting the awards, Philip Dalidakis MLC, Victorian Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade, said that the talented winners will play a “crucial role in Australia’s future”, including by making people’s lives better.
Australian school children are among the most stressed in the world according to latest research, so a group of tech-savvy young students has developed an app to help alleviate the pressure.
Year 5 students from St Joseph’s at Como – Oyster Bay have created a HappyNess app, which provides five ways to help girls overcome stress and anxiety by linking them to humorous videos, meditation, exercise, happy music and positive affirmations.
And all of their hard work has been rewarded by being named the state finalists at the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) NSW iAwards – the nation’s leading awards program for innovation in the digital economy.
The creators – Lily Taylor, Summer Batch, Ruby MacPherson and Mia Carrabin – are now busy fundraising to help with travel costs to get them to Melbourne this month for the National Finals.
The app was designed using skills learnt in coding, which enables students to devise step-by-step instructions to get computers to do what you want them to do and create software, games, apps and websites.
Almost 12 months in the making, the app takes you on a journey using five different emojis – stressed, sad, happy, angry and excited – with your mood determining which route you take.
Head researcher of the project Mia said she hope it helped young girls become “a little less stressed and a little more chilled”.
“We are so anxious, we worry about our appearance, our grades, tests, friends, family and even homework,” she said.
“It’s something we talk about all the time, we worry about everything.
“And then I saw that Aussie kids are the most stressed in the world so we got together to see what we could do about it.
“It’s super easy to use and if you give it a go it really does work.”
St Joseph’s principal Allan Fagerstrom said he was proud of his students achievement and applauded their ingenuity.
He said the app will be really beneficial for students as it’s practical, fun and appropriate.
“What a wonderful creation. The HappyNess app is the inspired result of the school’s focus on student wellbeing and the intuition of four very creative students,” he said.
“Summer, Lily, Ruby and Mia designed the app to assist young girls, aged 5-14, with their confidence and raise their levels of happiness.
“The girls are to be congratulated on being awarded winners of the Junior Student category at the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) NSW iAwards, the nation’s leading awards program for innovation in the digital economy.
“They are an inspiration not just to students at St Joseph’s, but to students across the nation.“
The girls created their app in 2017 to compete in the Search For the Next Tech Girl Superhero, where they were equal winners of the NSW category. After some fine tuning and further developments the HappyNess app 2.0 was created.
The app is available free of charge on the Google Playstore and the girls are hoping to re-build it in iOS so it is also available on the App store.