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While Jonathan and Evan code, Michael manipulates characters in Photoshop and puts them into Swift, a programming language for Apple products. Rishabh, who also codes, is the team’s spokesperson.
“We’re creating an app that will change people’s habits by giving them information about the environment,” said Rishabh.
The students are one of three teams in Steven Zoeller’s sophomore-level App Development class. They sit side by side working on their own computers but stop frequently to look at one another’s screens and conference.
“The noise level can get pretty loud in here because they’re talking about what they’re doing,” notes Zoeller. “Each student is working on something different.”
Zoeller sees the app development process as the definition of an active learning environment. When different strengths come together at the ideation and development table—coding, content knowledge, and visual thinking—students create something that they could never come up with on their own.
“The students are developing the real thing,” said Zoeller, making the distinction between a class project and a real-world product. The teams must connect with experts and potential clients as they develop their ideas.
"SuperCell emailed me yesterday!" said Rishabh. He had reached out to the Finnish mobile game development team most known for creating “Clash of Clans" hoping for insights on incorporating gaming into his team's app.
Another team in Zoeller’s App Development class is creating an app in collaboration with the Community Center of Northern Westchester’s Food Pantry.
"People could use the app to see what they can donate and what the Pantry has if they need something,” describes Mark, one of the students on the team.
The third team is working on an app called “Paul Runs”—an homage to their running coach Paul Saloom—that encourages Katonah-area users to hike, bike, and run on local trails. Users share their favorite routes and the app calculates the carbon emissions saved by not driving the same distance.
The teams in Zoeller’s App Development class as well as three teams from his Principles of Engineering class pitched their ideas at Bedford2020’s Greenlight Competition recently.
The students honed their presentation skills as well as product ideas as they spoke to judges and the public about their ideas.