Trying to link students to opportunities that fit their passions, Denver Online High School helped a group of students compete in the Verizon Innovative App Challenge. The following tells a little about their story and app design process.
It all started with a flyer that came in the mail. Then that flyer got pinned to a board in an office, and that flyer pinned on the board lead to a discussion with a student about an opportunity. That opportunity developed a team, and that team then competed in the nationwide Verizon Innovative App Challenge where they won Best in State. It is incredible to think what amazing opportunities come from simply accepting a challenge posted on a piece of white paper.
The Denver Online High School Verizon Innovative App Challenge Team was combined of five students. The team worked relentlessly over the four months in developing an app concept for the competition. Their concept wass called TinyClass that allowed students to take miniature quizzes and tests, or study using fun social games. The app also allowed teachers to track students’ progress through a statistics menu. To make the app more enjoyable, it offered a personalized avatar that students could design as they chose, using coins earned through the study games to purchase clothing and other items for their avatar.
This app concept was developed after students completed research into the need for apps in studying. It was designed with a flipped classroom in mind. In essence, a flipped classroom is based around the notion that students learn the basics of their lessons at home, from smart devices or computers, and use class time to get help from teachers to clarify and expand knowledge about the material. Students also found from a 2013 Pew Poll that 44% of students would rather take a lesson off of a smart device than out of a textbook and that 29% of high school students already use the internet for videos, for school related social networks such as Edmodo, and as a way of doing homework (Brenner, 2013). Therefore, the team found a need for a study application that allowed students to take these mini classes.
While the team brainstormed and worked together in weekly meetings, each team member was assigned individual responsibilities in the design process. The team was to complete a three minute video and a 1,000 word essay that described their app and how they used STEM in its formation. One team member developed a mock up of the application, another designed all of the graphics within the app, another developed the gaming portion of the app, another lead the video editing process, and the last wrote the essay. Each team member played an integral role in the overall development of the application.
Check out their Verizon Innovative App Challenge Video that shows their app concept.
See the DPS highlight video on the Denver Online HS App Team.
Brenner, J. (2013). Pew Internet: Mobile. Pew Research Center.
Contact Kaci Sintek (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you’re interested in creating a team for this year’s app challenge.