Mobile CSP

AP Computer Science Principles
Endorsed by the College Board

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Mobile CSP students create operations certification training app now used by company

*Notes and responses were taken from phone conversation with Mobile CSP*


How many students are you currently teaching?
One section with 9 students (6 seniors, 3 juniors)

What strategies have you implemented that have been well received by students?
For the Create #1, I identified a local business and the students built a mobile app the company now uses for operations certification training. The app has 10 critical training components. Students selected the component they wanted to develop. One student developed two! Each component required the coding of four training modules comprised of company copyrighted images and videos enhanced with text to speech, and even a quiz for each component in order to assess employee understanding. While each student developed the modules for their component independently; collaboration was required to define requirements, design the user interface, establish development standards to ensure a consistent user experience, and for integration testing of the app. I attempted to replicate a business application development environment the students could expect when employed as developers someday. Extensive interaction with the client was required. I even involved the students in the contract negotiation process with the client, and they now better understand copyright and intellectual property rights. The students were involved in all aspects of what it took to identify, define, develop, and deliver the app on-time to meet the client’s business requirement. It was interesting for me to see the students gravitate to a role they felt most comfortable – sales, negotiator, lawyer, designer, problem solver, silent coder, and even one who could not meet deadlines and was “fired” by his peers. I plan to use this approach again next year with the Create #1 and have already identified a client need for a custom mobile app. But, it must be developed for the iPhone. I am excited to learn more about MIT’s release of an App Inventor development platform for iOS as we’re finding the majority of people have iPhones and want mobile apps for that type device, and not for Android devices.

What tips would you give other educators who are using the Mobile CSP curriculum?
Help students realize what they can do with the skills they are developing; and how it gives them a competitive advantage when companies are looking for new hires. Share with them the jobs, career opportunities, and salaries earned by those who have computer science knowledge and can develop apps. Help them see that it does not matter what their interests are. They can build mobile apps that can enhance the experience with their area(s) of interest. Everyone has a mobile phone these days and every industry is benefiting from employee increased productivity, more timely, confident decision making, and the freedom to be “in the field” closer to the business action when able to use apps on their phone. Their canvas is an idea they envision in their mind's eye. App Inventor is the paint and brushes for creating the artistic piece that is a mobile app built upon that canvas.

How has Mobile CSP changed how you think or feel about teaching?
I like that MCSP is relevant to any career interest students choose to pursue. This makes it easier to keep their interest. This subject matter is much less abstract than the math (honors geometry) that I also teach. My CSP students have never asked, “How will we use this stuff in real life.” This makes it more relevant and motivating for me too. I feel that I’m able to positively impact them by providing them with knowledge they too believe will be beneficial.

Other tips, tricks, or insight you would give to teachers considering Mobile CSP?
Work hard doing your PD in the summer to prepare. Complete the first 4 units of the course to jump start your confidence teaching.

What does Mobile CSP do well? What makes Mobile CSP different?
My CS background and the summer MCSP PD prepared me to teach the course. The pacing guide and course materials provided with the teacher “green pages” and accompanying student “blue pages” were critical to the successfully teaching of the course. Requiring completion of Unit self-checks and to answer reflection questions in their personal site portfolio was important and provided daily practice writing that is especially helpful for completing the written responses for the Explore and Create PT’s. It was very beneficial that the on-line, mid-term exam and grading of it was provided. With my other classes to teach, hockey and track coaching, CS club mentoring, and sophomore class advisor duty - it would have been very difficult for me to complete the required daily prep to teach the course.

How has Mobile CSP had an impact on a group of students?
All three juniors currently taking MCSP are taking AP CS-A next year.

In what ways has your Master Teacher helped the course?
Kevin Saxton and Geoff Boyer were always there for me to answer questions or provide examples of Unit Assessment Tests.

Montgomery Bell Academy
David Deutsch