High School Students Make Great App Developers

Check out this OC Transpo app (for Android) built by a few Ottawa high-school students:

Look at the polish. The crispness of the design. These guys get it. That app is going to do really well.

They had a little help. My last gig was pretty big on social involvement, and sent a few designers/developers to mentor the students and provide guidance. (I was one of them, until I moved.) But we were just there to teach high-level concepts and weigh in on decisions. The idea for the app, all the app code, and the app’s overall design were all generated by the students.

They did a fantastic job, and this shows us two things:

First, high school students are perfectly capable of building useful software. I spent four years volunteering my programming expertise at various Ottawa high schools, and you would not believe the quality of some of the products I’ve seen. The app showcased above is one of the best, but it’s not an outlier.

Second, app development is a great way to learn to program. We figured this out years ago when I was volunteering with OCRI. With a little guidance, all a novice programmer needs to build something truly incredible is a platform and a purpose — and he or she can usually supply the latter.

This is the amazing thing about software. You can have a giant company with hundreds of employees trying to solve the same problem as a few teens in a classroom, and which will do a better job is anyone’s guess.

3 Responses to “High School Students Make Great App Developers”

  1. Leah Menard Says:

    Cute! I’m so proud of you and your students. I’m not surprised they do so well, you’re a great teacher! :)

  2. dan Says:

    Thanks hon! I really didn’t do a whole lot. The actual teacher for their class was great, and that helps a lot. We got some gems during OCRI, too.

  3. Jeffrey Says:

    Hey Dan,
    A couple updates and plugs for other programs, OCRI is now calling it’self Invest Ottawa http://investottawa.ca/.
    The high school program you worked with OCRI is now in full swing with funding more information here http://www.techu.me/.

    I also loved working with the students and it was really interesting to see how we didn’t have to teach them how to program we just had to point them to the information that needed to be used to complete the given task.

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