Students Use MAD-Learn to Create Apps for Local Communities
Before this spring, rising 7th grader Madison Reiman was no mobile app designer. But after developing her ideas in class last April, she’s worked to bring her creative prowess to her community.
Madison, who starts 7th grade at Auburn High/Middle School in Auburn, Nebraska this fall, was one of thirty students in a district pilot program using MAD-learn. MAD-learn, developed by school communication app service Crescerance, provides templates and software to introduce students to app development.
“My group was interested in photography, so we used [the MAD-learn platform] to make an app showing different ways to edit photos,” Reiman explains. “I created a page about different filters you can use for your pictures, and one on different tools for cropping.”
After her introduction to app creation through the MAD-learn workshop, Reiman was one of several students to develop apps for local businesses. The local ice cream parlor and movie theater both now boast student-created apps. “People can download [the Auburn State Theater app] to see where it is on a map, admission prices, and current and upcoming movies,” says Reiman.
Other students have also used MAD-learn’s tools to contribute to their communities. Last spring, as part of his advanced web design class at Lakeview Academy in Gainesville, Georgia, rising junior Hayes Kennedy worked in a group to provide an online alternative to paper event registration at his school. “We decided to transfer the form to register an event into a digital form, so we recreated it on Google forms, and used some HTML coding to transfer that onto the app software,” Kennedy explains. “I think the app shows a lot of promise.”
Connie White, technology and learning director at Lakeview Academy, sees the MAD-learn software not only as a way to familiarize students with the app creation tools, but also as a way for students to contribute thoughtfully to their community. “This gives them an opportunity to solve a real-world problem,” says White. “The students really took the lead on figuring out some solutions for our school, and are going to increase our productivity.”
“This can be a vehicle for creating artifacts of understanding in class and outside of it,” White explains. Kevin Reiman, superintendent for Auburn Public Schools (and Madison Reiman’s father), agrees, seeing MAD-learn as enabling an alternative to traditional assignments. “We found that when a student does the research necessary to build this, it’s the same as for a three-page paper,” said Reiman. “It’s just a different mode of delivering the information.”
Within the classroom walls and beyond, students introduced to app design through MAD-learn have learned the value of creating. “It definitely gives you an insight on how other apps and website work that you wouldn’t have noticed before,” explains Kennedy. “It also gives you freedom to design what you want, and make it look exactly how you want an app to look.”
Check out more local apps created by students using MAD-learn on the app store.