By Megan Alley
Forty students from West Clermont High School recently participated in an app design camp organized by Tata Consultancy Services, a global information technology company.
During the camp, which was held from Feb. 5 – 13 at the high school, students were asked to form groups to design their own apps for mobile devices.
The camp was part of TCS’s goIT program, the company’s flagship student technology awareness initiative designed to address the growing skills gap in science, technology, engineering and math fields for middle and high school students.
“It’s all around engaging computational thinkers; it’s all around empowering youth and strengthening our communities through that,” Christine Mackin, corporate social responsibility specialist for education programs at TCS, said.
To date, goIT has reached more than 13,000 students in 50 cities and 100 school districts across North America.
Ninth-grader Ian Smith, who was matched up with three other students, worked on his group’s app called “Classpunk,” a play on the word “steampunk,” which is defined as “a genre of science fiction that has a historical setting and typically features steam-powered machinery rather than advanced technology.”
“Our goal is to make school a little easier to understand, so it’s got different information about different classes and school activities, it’s got ratings on lunches – how people like the lunches here at school, and it has a steampunk theme,” Smith explained.
This was Smith’s first time working on app development.
“It’s really cool,” he said, noting that he still has his sights set on animation.
Classmate Crystal Pfeiffer, who was grouped with four other students, worked on her team’s app called “Friend or Foe,” which aimed at making people more aware about all things space, and how there may or may not be aliens.
The app is geared towards everybody.
“It’s a little bit like Tumbler, where you just log in,” Pfeiffer explained. “You can post stories that you have that include aliens, you can read more about how others have had experiences, and you can kind of choose, instead of the regular gender roles of boy or girl, you can pick whether you want to be a human or an alien.”
She added, “You can just kind of learn more facts about Earth as you go.”
Pfeiffer, who has worked on a few app development projects, said this particular assignment was “surprisingly a lot more fun, especially since it goes towards a lot more people that can use it.”
In terms of her overall academic experience, she said the project gave her more inputs on what careers she can go into in the future.
“This has honestly made me want to go into computer science, technology and engineering,” Pfeiffer said.