Alex Green Peace App

Alex Green Elementary Students Create Calming Apps to Help Fellow Students and Staff
Posted on 05/08/2024
teacher and student talking, reviewing the student's app

Student showing her app on a tabletThe rushing waters of a waterfall, a fluffy puppy, and a butterfly on a flower — now, take a deep breath…

These serene images come to life in the form of the new calming apps created by the innovative minds of Alex Green Design Technology Magnet Elementary students. But these apps weren't crafted for themselves; they were designed for the well-being of their fellow students and staff.

At Alex Green, students aren't just taught about design technology. They're empowered to create something meaningful for others, and this project brought together all their skills and creativity.

"I won't be here next year, so I wanted to leave something for the teachers and kids if they are having a bad day," one student shared about her project. "To me, this is special."

Since November, the students in Anthony Madison’s fifth-grade class have immersed themselves in every element of app creation. Beginning with identifying a problem to solve, they then brainstormed ideas and refined their concepts. Then, in preparation for the design, students took a course on Canva about color schemes, the balance of elements, and more.

The project used multiple technology tools, including Keynote, Pages, Clips, Flip, Swift Playground and Pexels. Guided by the MNPS learning technology team, students honed their skills and created icons that communicated their projects. From naming the apps to designing visuals and crafting user-friendly instructions, every detail was considered to ensure a seamless user experience.

“It was fun to see the students adjust their projects based on feedback; it was a productive struggle,” said Ceteka Gooch, learning technology specialist. “They had to correct their sequencing and constantly debug.” Alex Green teacher and student

Challenges and Rewards of App Creation

The journey wasn't without its challenges. Students embraced the process of receiving feedback, constantly improving and editing their creations. As they tested their apps on different grades at Alex Green, they gained valuable insights into the importance of accessibility in technology.

“I forgot they couldn’t really read!” exclaimed one student about Pre-K and kindergarten audiences. “Now we need the app to talk!”

The culminating activity welcomed community partners and parents to experience the app. Each student, armed with an iPad, shared their inspiration and welcomed feedback from the adults in attendance.

“I was feeling stressed today, so my blood pressure was so high I needed to visit the nurse. But a student sat me down with her app, and it truly calmed me,” said Deborah Polman, a substitute teacher. Alex Green app icons

When asked about their favorite part of the project, students expressed pride in overcoming challenges and witnessing their final creations come to life. Many found the tedious tasks of finding videos and matching the music to the calm nature of the app most challenging, but all students conveyed their love of the project.

“For me, my favorite part was witnessing the collaboration - seeing them so willing to help each other,” Madison said. “They took the feedback really well.”

The project helped students with social-emotional learning, math, science, writing, and design. Most importantly, it instilled confidence and nurtured self-expression. As students cheered for themselves after the hour of presentations, the success of project-based learning was undeniable.

“It is well worth taking the extra time in the classroom to create the space for this type of creativity,” Madison said.

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