As a culminating project in their computer science classes, seventh and eighth graders created their own mobile applications, which were designed to improve the lives of others. The students’ apps covered a variety of areas, including health, nutrition, personal communication, recycling and transportation.
“In the process, there was a lot of problem-solving that they had to overcome, and they worked together as a team to come up with a product together,” teacher Jason Wofsey said. “They were able to realize the potential with computer science that they can help solve problems in the real world.”
As part of the project, the students were challenged to research and identify real-world problems they wished to solve, then brainstorm and come up with ideas that solved the particular problem. Working in groups, the students created paper prototypes of their applications before designing their digital screens. They also learned how to program their final product to be interactive.
Wofsey said the challenge allowed the students to be creative, solve problems and experience the design process.
“They learned how to get user input and store it, save the data, retrieve the data and all the basics of app development to make their ideas become a reality,” he said.
Some of the projects included incentivizing people to recycle more, eat healthier, sleep better, drive less, reduce stress and quit vaping or smoking. Other apps connected people, encouraged sustainable shopping, provided inspiration on how to become happier and manage their time better.
“Most rewarding was seeing it work,” said eighth grader Walker Liggitt, whose project, the Buddy Site application, was designed to connect people. “That’s the best part because you see all of your work come together. Computer science is always evolving, and in the world that we live in today, it’s something that you should have a basic understanding of.”
In addition, Wofsey said he encouraged his students to enter the ongoing LiveWell 2020 Student App Challenge, which is intended to promote awareness of the need for assistive and accessible technologies by fostering innovation through a fun, hands-on competition.