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Want to engage students? Have them create apps

Want to engage students? Have them create apps

Through its MAD-Learn program, Crescerance brought a team of app developers to Auburn for a Saturday event called a MAD-Camp, in which students in grades four and older learned how to create their own apps.

Students came up with their own concept for a mobile app, then used mind maps to brainstorm all the features they wanted their app to include. With a unique online app development platform from Crescerance that is powered by a simple, drag-and-drop interface, the students then built their apps.

Fifteen Auburn teachers also took part in the MAD-Camp, and now they’re integrating mobile app development into their curriculum, Reiman said.

For instance, rather than having students write a report about the ferocious animals they were studying, some middle school teachers had their students build an app about these creatures instead.

“The kids worked hard and had fun,” Reiman said. “If they had just done a report, I’m not sure they would have put that same amount of time into it.”

Although today’s generation of students are tech-savvy, “they’re still largely consumers of technology instead of creators of technology,” said Alefiya Bhatia, CEO of Crescerance.

She said the company created its MAD-Learn program to bring app development into the classroom.

The program includes various components that are priced by volume. Auburn pays about $25 per student, per year, to license the company’s mobile app development platform, while the on-site MAD-Camp event was a separate charge.

Crescerance also helps students get their apps published to the Apple, Google, and Microsoft app stores, and Auburn asks parents to pay this additional fee.

Crescerance calls its student app developers “MAD-Scouts,” and it was through the company’s MAD-Learn program that Danielle, Kennedy, and Ryan published their apps.

(Next page: What’s next for Auburn’s app development program—and how a company called Treehouse is teaching app development, too)

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