Updates from the App Authors Team:
In October, Dr. Rachel Magee presented at the Digital Media & Learning Conference at the University of California, Irvine. Her presentation, titled “App Authors: Kids Designing, Creating, and Sharing Apps in Informal Learning Settings,” focused on the App Authors framework, our current curriculum and findings, and opportunities for future work in this area.
In November, Dr. Deborah Stevenson and graduate student Lizzy Isbell presented together at a Research Showcase hosted by the University of Illinois’ School of Information Sciences. Deborah spoke about the background and research aspects of App Authors, while Lizzy talked about the most recent curriculum iteration she had taught at the Douglass Branch of the Champaign Public Library over the summer.
In December, Deborah and Lizzy met with our technical design team at Pixo to discuss ideas for App Authors going forward. We talked about the importance of longevity and sustainability of the project, with particular focus on exploring various platforms for keeping the curriculum alive and easily shareable. Currently, we have materials in both Google Drive and Box folders, but our goal is to make our materials easily accessible from one platform. We also discussed creating an easy way for interested parties to find the most useful “flavor” of the curriculum based on their own time constrictions and prospective audience.
Our team has also been in conversation about the next steps for App Authors once our grant ends in fall 2018. We have discussed developing an “App Educators” program, utilizing teen mentors to teach coding to our target audience of younger children. Please let us know if your library might be interested in partnering with us to further our research in these possible next steps!
In other news, Deborah Stevenson will be talking about App Authors to an international audience in June at Princeton University’s 2018 International Symposium for Children’s Literature & the US-China Symposium for Children’s Literature.