At the Hamlin School in San Francisco students can take a 7th grade arts elective class where they work together to identify real issues that they care about, brainstorm ways to address those problems, and then learn to build apps to solve them. Students work through all key aspects of new product development, including: idea generation, technical feasibility, programming, design, deciding on business models and marketing.
The class is derived from Apps for Good, an organization with a “goal to transform the way technology is taught in schools; to empower students from all backgrounds to seize the opportunities of our digital age and create solutions to the problems they care about, using technology.”
The Hamlin elective class is divided into five modules that cover topics like team roles, market research, data feasibility, user research and improving the app’s code. Students have already begun the brainstorming process. Hamlin faculty member, Caroline Windell states, “I have students observing the world around them, noticing when things aren’t easy for people.” Through these observations students have noticed that it might be useful to have a map app to find items at Target stores, or an app that tells someone when a library’s decibel level is too high for effective study.
In the spring, 7th graders immerse themselves in Rising to the Challenge (RTC) projects, a weeks long investigation into finding solutions to both global and local problems. The creative problem-solving in the Apps for Good class will be put to use as part of those engaging real world projects.
To learn more about Apps for Good, please visit: https://www.appsforgood.org/