Friday, June 15, 2012

Chagrin Falls High School publishes mobile apps – and the fun has only just begun

I’m pleased to report that a project I had been nursing for most of this year has reached a milestone. At the beginning of this last semester, I kicked off a track inside our local high school (Chagrin Falls High School) to get teams of students collaborating on building mobile apps – not just programming but developing all of the skills required for a successful app launch.

Today, the first apps went live and they include:

Both apps are simple to begin with – BUT remember, these are the work product of a new and educational program where high school students work in small teams focusing on developing programming, product management and marketing skills.

These apps also generate usage analytics (nothing personally identifiable) and include a feedback page. Students will review the analytics and user feedback to improve future versions – so please download these apps, give them a spin, and provide feedback. Do it for the kids!

Of course, I didn’t run this program alone – I worked with The Chagrin Falls Dads’ Club and the Chagrin Falls High School administration with support from Microsoft (who provided mobile phones, development software and some technical support) and PreEmptive Solutions (who provided monitoring software to help measure app usage). 

The objective of the program is to organize students into teams where they would not only build a mobile app, but publish that app in a global marketplace and monitor its adoption and usage “in the wild.”

The goal of the program is to teach students the importance of the “total lifecycle” of an app from idea to creation to publication to adoption to continuous improvement. Obviously, today’s high school students are truly an “app generation” and it always kills me that the myriad of career choices beyond development are never highlighted – and given that this is an exploding multi-billion dollar market and I’m based here in Ohio – I wanted to make sure our local students knew what was available to them right now. What should be built? For whom? How is my app doing and what can I do better? Chagrin’s students will have a head start in knowing how to answer these questions in a global marketplace.

The process included organizing the early volunteers into teams and working with them to develop ideas that they could bring to market. Microsoft provided phones and software and had a technical resource drop in for some general instruction as well. PreEmptive Solutions provided the analytic software so that students could measure how their apps were doing.

Great work... Welcome to the North Coast.

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