Apps are making their way into the computer science class here at The Gregory School. Since the beginning of the second semester, Dennis Conner’s F and D Block computer science classes have been brainstorming and creating apps.
“App making is a major way in which programmers are using their skills. I think making something visible and usable like an app motivates learning computer program skills,” said Conner.
Currently on the Apple App Store there are over 1.3 million apps available to download, ranging from photography to music to games. Students are working on various projects that reflect their interests.
“Students are working on several different projects. Everybody chooses what they want to work on. Some are working on designing a game, a math tool, a funny camera app, an information portal, and a calendar tool,” said Conner.
Students are required to build two apps. One for the benefit of the school and one app of their interest.
Senior Ashton Yazzie is working on an app that will allow one to keep track of favorite TV shows and air times. “I brainstormed the idea with Arii Sylvers. We both agreed that we needed handy reminders to watch our favorite shows,” said Yazzie. Yazzie took Computer Science A her sophomore year but decided to continue on with Computer Science B this year.
Two other seniors, Danny Benson and Raymond Roesler, are working on an app based around celebrity facial hair. “Raymond and I are building an app that allows you to take a picture of yourself then choose from a variety of celebrity beards to wear. Ray and I got our inspiration from Mr. Conner’s beard and celebrities like Brian Wilson,” said Benson.
Benson described app-building as a time consuming process. “The app has been very complicated. We had to first photoshop all the beards from the celebrity faces and now we have to actually build the app and make it run on people’s phones,” said Benson.
Many underclassman students take the class as well. Sophomore JP Alvarenga and freshman Max Mainman are working on an app based on sports highlights. They have uploaded a couple of videos to their YouTube channel, Hawks Center, featuring students like freshman Addison Mort.
Alvarenga said, “So I was doing a tech innovations project and I’m still doing it, it’s Hawks Center, and we’re going to film the school sports games. So I was like, I should do an app for it. And I’m going to do an instagram so you can take a picture of someone playing in the school and post it.”
Students are using different programs to create their apps. Some of them are Xcode, Swift, and basic HTML and CSS.
“I hope students feel empowered with the ability to design simple programs for the benefits of others. I know these skills can be applied to a large number of disciplines and I hope they remember the process they went through,” said Conner.
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