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Want to engage students? Have them create apps

Want to engage students? Have them create apps

Student app development is on the rise, and ed-tech companies have tapped into this trend by launching programs that teach kids how to build their own apps

apps

With mobile apps soaring in popularity, companies such as Crescerance and Treehouse have created programs that help teach kids how to build their own apps.

Each month, tens of thousands of mobile apps are added to the app stores for Apple iOS, Google Android, and Microsoft Windows 8—and a growing number of these are from K-12 students.

There’s an app from fifth-grader Danielle that teaches users how to create intricate Rainbow Loom designs, for instance—which had been downloaded more than 20,000 times as of press time.

There’s an app from a student named Kennedy that teaches visitors to France some basic words and phrases to know, as well as facts about France and where to visit. And there’s an app from a student named Ryan that offers fashion advice and lets users share photos of outfits they like with their friends.

With mobile apps soaring in popularity, companies such as Crescerance and Treehouse have created educational programs that help teach kids how to design and build their own apps.

These programs engage students by tapping into their powerful connection with smart devices—and they could help inspire the next generation of software developers as well.

From consumers to creators of technology

Kevin Reiman, superintendent of the Auburn Public Schools in Nebraska, said his district had worked with Crescerance—a Georgia-based company that develops customized apps for schools and other organizations—to create a mobile app for the district.

When Reiman learned that Crescerance was offering a new program to teach students how to develop apps, “this spoke to me,” he said.

Auburn is a small district of about 900 students in southeastern Nebraska. About half of its students live in poverty—but even among these students, “most of them have a smart phone,” Reiman said. “They might not have a computer at home, but they have a mobile device.”

(Next page: How Auburn students are learning app development—and how they have benefited as a result)

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