Fox Hill Help Desk Meets SeeSaw

On Tuesday, March 28th the Fox Hill Help Desk had the opportunity to learn about app development and computer science in general from the makers of the digital portfolio app SeeSaw. The opportunity to hear from the maker of SeeSaw was particularly exciting for Fox Hill students since they’re all using the app in various classes to share work with their teachers, classmates, and parents. As the Technology Integration Specialist at Fox Hill, it was exciting to me as well to hear about the development of SeeSaw because almost every teacher in our building is now using this excellent educational app!

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Twenty-four Help Desk students gathered in the Fox Hill Learning Commons during their lunch and recess to view the webinar, which was being broadcast from San Franscisco. They had the opportunity to hear from Emily Voigtlander, Product Manager from SeeSaw, as well as the co-founder of SeeSaw Carl Sjogreen. During the twenty minute webinar, students learned about Carl’s background and experience with computer programming which included working at both Facebook and Google before developing the apps Shadow Puppets and the highly successful SeeSaw. Carl went on to share the specific steps of app building and encouraged students to take advantage of free web and iOS resources to learn computer science. He specifically mentioned as a place to learn a variety of programming languages including Python and Java Script and the free iOS app Swift Playgrounds; the programming language which is used by Apple app developers. In addition to learning a programming language, Carl encouraged students to develop their art, writing, and drawing skills and explained how those skills are integral for successful app development.

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During the webinar I encouraged students to take notes on what they were learning and below is a video and several quotes reflecting on what they learned as a result of the SeeSaw webinar:

“You might ask, how do you build an app? Well, first you have to think about how does the app help solve a problem for other people. After you think about that, you make a plan. You research and draw and sketch the app. You can also get ideas from other people who have experience with making an app and coding. Speaking of coding that takes me to the next step!

The next step is doing the basic coding for the app. “In coding you can’t just say open the door to a computer you have to say apply a certain amount of pressure and and the angle using languages such as Swift, Logo, Python, and Javascript.”

Once you finish coding, you double check the product, just like writing, to make sure you can’t make any other changes. Next you give the Beta version of your app to a large group of people. The purpose of Beta versions of apps are to get feedback from other people, in Seesaw’s case, teachers of schools.

When you get feedback of what to add and delete, you make all the possible changes and see if the app store likes the app. If they do, you put it on the app store. If you followed those steps, you have (probably) made an app!”

-Aadi D., Fourth Grader 

“What I learned in the webinar SeeSaw presentation was that there are 7 steps to make an app. The steps are, THINK, MAKE A PLAN, WRITE CODE, TEST AND FIX, BETA TEST, LISTEN AND REDESIGN, AND LASTLY IS TO LAUNCH. To make an app you have to code. Coding kind of looks like scribbles, but more advanced. It can take anywhere from a few days or a long time to make an app. Once you do all the work, you can then send all of it to Apple or Google and maybe they’ll approve it. You might get frustrated, but you always stick with it. Lastly, some resources to make an app are Swift and Swift Playground, golo script, and, “

-Christopher, Fourth Grade

“Computer science, along with coding, is great when you want to tell how the stuff works and how to make it work. For instance, you can’t just say OK open the door. You have to say “apply a certain amount of pressure and and the angle” using languages such as Swift, Logo, Python, and Javascript. According to the developers of SeeSaw, programming and coding is just as creative as writing a novel and drawing a masterpiece. The chronological order he said was: make a plan, write a code, and fix data, test, listen, and launch. Also, another problem that is very common in coding are bugs which cause crashing so you have to get rid of them. When creating the app, ask yourself what problem does it solve and who does it help? I also learned that Carl studied computer science for making apps. He got his first programming software when he was little and he thinks coding is fun and is an exercise of creativity.”

-Krish, Fourth Grade 

We’d like to thank SeeSaw for this amazing opportunity to learn about computer programming and app development in the most authentic way possible!



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