Suffolk County Council and Weejot.com to put mobile software development into education
Suffolk County Council is working with Jadu, a web experience management vendor, to provide schools with free tools to enable students to learn how to build mobile apps as part of an ICT education initiative.
Suffolk Council recently subscribed to the weejot.com mobile app publishing service from Jadu using the Government’s new G-Cloud Cloudstore. Immediately following the short procurement, the council held a Mobile Hack Day in June at the council offices in order to gain community support. The event, the first of its kind in the UK, was designed to encourage local developers and the community to be involved in shaping the Council’s implementation of mobile services and innovate new ideas for delivering mobile services to citizens. After a successful event, the Council has decided to offer the service as a learning tool for all schools, colleges and universities in the County.
“We wanted to ensure we took an inclusive approach to building innovation into our mobile strategy,” says Mark Adams-Wright, CIO of Suffolk County Council. “Most of all, we wanted to share the learning potential of the weejot.com platform and encourage local developers to work with us. What we have delivered for the council and our customers is a first iteration in a very short timeframe with continuous improvement. What we have also delivered is a new, better approach to innovation in Local Government and a dramatic opportunity to potentially transform ICT learning and skills in the UK.”
Following the success of the mobile app development day and the feedback received from teachers and school children, Suffolk is now looking to introduce the weejot.com service into education institutions as part of its ‘Raising the Bar’ agenda. Raising the Bar is a Suffolk led initiative to raise attainment levels across the County.
“Countries are just like businesses. They need to innovate to grow,” says Suraj Kika, CEO of Jadu. “If there is a way the UK will lead the technology sector and innovate to stimulate economic growth, it’s by encouraging software development in schools, colleges and universities and build the next generation of developers. weejot.com is how we intend to put mobile web app development on the curriculum and on the map. We’re very serious about that.”
Cited as the mechanism for removing the ‘harmful ICT curriculum’, the Government has empowered education institutions to choose their own ICT curriculum, enabling them to manage and control what technology they teach and how it is delivered.
“As a UK based SME we are primed and ready to help build a new generation of software engineers. Local Authorities in particular can help us make a difference here, as well as transform their own businesses,” says Suraj. “What Suffolk County Council have shown is that you can do that and you don’t have to spend millions of pounds scoping out, before you start doing something about it.”
“We are thrilled that one of the first G-Cloud procurements has had such a positive and dramatic effect,” says Denise McDonagh, G-Cloud Programme Director. “The impact is that this initiative could be transformational for schools and their approach to teaching of ICT.”
The weejot.com Software as a Service (SaaS) solution enables both technical and non-technical users to create and publish mobile apps in real-time, without the need for approval through App Stores or downloading to the user’s device.
The commercial Weejot service can be purchased on the Government’s G-Cloud or from the company directly.
About Suffolk County Council
Suffolk County Council is the largest local authority in the county and is responsible for Suffolk-wide services including: schools and community education, the fire service, trading standards, road maintenance and improvements, support for older people and adults with disabilities, support for vulnerable children (including fostering and adoption), support for local businesses, support for public transport (subsidising rural buses, community transport schemes and park and ride sites); waste disposal and registrars.
Suffolk has a population of around 719,500 (ONS 2010) and is one of three counties which make up East Anglia alongside Norfolk and Cambridgeshire. The county town of Ipswich is around 70 miles from London and there are regular trains to the capital. Suffolk has no motorways: the A12 and A14 provide access both to London and the north of the country and are major transportation routes for goods routed through Felixstowe port.
Jadu is a leading global provider of Web Experience Management software, specialising in CMS, Forms, Search and Mobile for enterprise websites, intranets and extranets. Jadu powers hundreds of government, education and private sector organizations across the world and is a leading innovator in providing customers with the tools needed to simplify and empower the multi-channel web publishing and management process. Jadu recently launched the www.weejot.com mobile app publishing service, which provides a SaaS platform for delivering mobile apps in real-time.