November 6, 2014

GigBridge ELA StudentsThe GigBridge project will finish with a presentation of each team’s app. The app presentation will be judged. The top scoring team will be given a prize and the opportunity to have their app published in the marketplace.

To prepare the students to give their presentations one of our GigBridge mentors gave a workshop on how to create a presentation. She covered the three main points the presentations should cover and demonstrated using slides to make the presentation visually appealing.

All through the GigBridge project the students have been using Google accounts to collaborate their plans with their team members. Working on their presentations using Google Slides lets them learn more about Google tools beyond gMail and Google Docs. Helping the students learn to utilize these tools helps them expand their wheel house of tech tools for the future.

We encouraged the students to explain the goal of their app and demonstrate, using screen shots, the ways the app met their goals. Teams with bilingual students planned their presentations in both English and Spanish.

It will be fun to see the students make their presentations to the judges on the 14th.

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October 23, 2014

Today we took a step back to review how to use Appy Pie in the creation of the apps. Appy Pie is a great non-coding tool, however in a middle school classroom environment it has many limitations. To utilize all Appy Pie has to offer, a lot of planning and setting up of other resources needs to occur. There are pages to direct app users to mobile websites, Facebook resources, blog posts, and You Tube playlists. And because the schools have many resources blocked, the students had to redirect their focus of the app to text pages, weblinks, and maps.

GigBridge Students and MentorsOnce we established how Appy Pie could be used by the students they began designing their apps. They took time to decide their app names and the pages they would use.

The minimum number of pages the students had to use is four, an Appy Pie requirement. We encouraged them to use as many as they needed to give users the information they had learned. They really liked the use of the maps to show places to exercise. And using the website page lets the students share the online places they learned about obesity.

If the students had access to other online resources and had more time to plan those resources, they could have used Appy Pie features to the full extent. However, given the limitations, the GigBridge project has really given the students an idea of what organization and research is needed to create an app.

October 16, 2014

Today’s session at East Lake Academy continued with helping the students gather research for their obesity related apps. We arranged for Dietetic students from UTC to consult with the ELA students. Each team started with three questions to help with their focus and discussion.

The questions the students had ranged from “Why is obesity becoming such a big problem?” to “What can you eat to not get fat?” We had one consultant to each team, so the discussions were lively and gave the students a lot to work with to focus their apps. The consultants said they enjoyed their time with the students and even wanted to send them more information.

Having health consultants meet with the teams not only gave the ELA teams more information, it gave them an idea of possible future careers. The GigBridge project is STEM focused and focused heavily on tech, but having health consultants talk to the students also showed them another aspect of a STEM field where they could show interest.

It will be interesting to see where the students take their information and use it in their app making process.