During this course on developing apps, I’m learning more than app development. I’m discovering what makes learning more interesting for me. While my findings may not work for everyone, I find it interesting that my findings confirm some of the most recent trends in education.
Two weeks ago I found I was more motivated to dig deeper and challenge myself when the app I created was related to a topic I’m interested in–math education. It was easy enough to make a connection from the prescribed project and Number Bug. By personalizing the assignment, I became invested in developing an app I could be proud of.
Last week I was disengaged because the assigned app required a “prescription” and the app wasn’t something I found interesting. Even though I choose a topic I found interesting, Natural Wonders of the World, I couldn’t find an engagement point. As a teacher using project-based learning, I would provide one-on-one guidance for my students. Knowing the options available in App Inventor, I would use leading questions to help my students discover an engagement point that would turn on interest and motivation. After my experiences, I know that this is an element that will make all the difference to a student’s learning.
This week, I was able to find that engagement point for myself. I have always been interested in geocaching and know that there are many geocache sites in my area. I searched the web and discovered a Cape Cod Towns geocache list–a list of 14 towns and the location of a geocache in each town. Using Google maps, I could put in the latitude and longitude for each location and write a clue for my app users to attempt to follow. For users who find my clues too cryptic or don’t have luck following them, the app will provide directions from their current location.
I had a similar experience as two weeks ago in that I dug in, searched the web, asked questions, and solve problems I wouldn’t have had if I had stuck with the basic assignment. I pushed myself to combine things I had learned in previous weeks. In addition to learning more, I have more pride in my work when I push myself.
If you’d like to take up the Cape Cod Towns geocache hunt, download my app using the QR Code below. Have fun! Let me know about your adventure and if the clues were helpful.