MAD-news for April: “Will you sign my app?” – Chamblee HS student

Hi Guest,

I was invited to speak to Mr. Thompson’s Introduction to Digital Technology classes at Chamblee HS in DeKalb County, GA. He wanted me to share my story of being a teacher and then starting a tech company and what that journey was like with his students. He thought it would be good for his students to meet a CEO and potentially envision themselves as entrepreneurs as well.

So, of course, I went! I got to speak to two different classes and loved seeing their faces change and light up when I talked about different aspects of my life and the company that we have all built together. Mr. Thompson had his students work in groups to build an app about a specific topic. Each group shared with me what they had done so far, and what the process of building their app was like.

I always ask students to “Ask Me ANYTHING” at the end of my talk and encourage them to be bold, think about, and ask any question that they would like to know more about. At the end of class, one student from a group that had done great work on their app raised his hand and asked me a question that I have never been asked before: “Will you sign our app, Ms. Master??” WHAT? What does that even mean? How does one even do that? I was floored and excited to leave my autograph on this amazing group of students’ work. So I opened up a page in their app, added a new text field to it, and wrote (happily and with lots of cheers from the students) 

Signed by: Alefiya Master, CEO MAD-learn

They cheered and were so happy to get their app “signed” by me. I was over the moon excited that they even wanted that! Here is the picture with these amazing students from left to right: Joshua J., Ivan L., Mohammed A., Alexander K. Let us always remember to encourage our students in every way possible. Who knows what these kids will be when they grow up. I will always cherish this memory, that’s for sure! Let me know if I can come in to speak with YOUR students.

We’re proud to announce the app, Unify, won a Gold medal in the Georgia Department of Education CS4GA’s App and Design Challenge.  Seventh graders Syeda Tanzim, Aailiyah Anderson, and Abby Rivera in Saundra Watts’ computer science class at Barber Middle School in Cobb County created the app to raise awareness about hate crimes.

“The team’s design was lauded for community advocacy, overall design, and innovative thinking. The Unify team will receive Google and CEISMC “swag” bags and are eligible for a six-month internship with MAD-learn,” said CTAE Supervisor Art O’Neil.  “The Unify team members are now GaDOE CS Ambassadors and will present their app at the Georgia World Congress Center on July 12, 2023, during MathCon,” he said. The app delves into topics such as gender inequality, disability discrimination, homophobia, religious hate, and racism. Winners were announced during the annual CS4GA Summit held on March 27, 2023.

In the cutthroat world of business, “appreneurs” in MAD-expert LaWanda Stephen Sanford’s computer science class are one step closer to taking a bite out of their future competition. Last month, the DeKalb County Arabia Mountain High School students demonstrated their apps – based on an issue teens face today –  in a shark tank-style presentation.  Members of the MAD-learn team were lucky enough to be judges and had the chance to experience their powerful presentations.

Students took on significant social issues such as gun control, teen mental health, and even misogyny and created apps to raise awareness about these important topics.“I was blown away by the maturity of these students and the depth and breadth of their apps.  They tackled subjects even adults shy away from.  And yet, they stood in front of their peers and talked about things like their own social anxiety or how a family member’s substance abuse affected them.  To say I was impressed is an understatement” said MAD-learn Curriculum and Implementation Specialist Alexandra Kummernes. 

We can’t wait to see what her students create next year for their app shark tank!

There is a brand new HCJ Code Demos Appand we would love for you to check it out! This app provides a visual representation of the 150+ code sets that are in the MAD-learn Code Set Library. Students have access to this library to find and use and develop upon open source codes to help solidify their coding knowledge. Check out the many more exciting screens that you now have access to. 

Be sure to share the new slide deck guide to get students acquainted with this great resource!

We’re hitting the road with our partners at Teq to bring some amazing ideas to your classroom! Join us for our session Don’t Worry, Be APPy:
Monday, April 17 – Columbus, OH
Wednesday, April 19 – Pittsburgh, PA
Friday, April 21 – Easton, PA
Register here for the event that is closest to you – it’s FREE!

Standardized testing is no one’s favorite time of the school year.  But Barber Middle School teacher Erin Burt found a creative way to make the preparation and review process fun.  Although this is her first foray in using mobile app development in her classroom, Burt wanted to find a way to make Georgia Milestones test preparation and review more engaging for her ESOL students.  Her 6th and 7th-grade students are creating apps that will help fellow students review major concepts from the school year.

“This was a way for our STEM students to be peer coaches and engage in the teaching and learning process with one of our unique populations – ESOL students!,” said Burt, who has been teaching for 24 years.

Students created their study guide apps based on the topics they felt they most needed to review. As a result, other teachers in the school were able to post the student-created review apps on their learning management systems (LMS) pages for students to explore and use as study tools.  “Some of my students really used the platform to create interactive, creative, and visually enhanced study pages that held manageable chunks of information to review,” she said.

According to Burt, students enjoyed  the creativity and autonomy of app development and that their apps can be used in the real-world.  They also loved  that the MAD-learn platform allowed the opportunity to try out coding or create code, she said.“[The] use of visual and audio support to learn content and language is so important to my English Language Learners, as well as our tech-savvy students!  It was the most engaged I have seen them with technology this year.” Burt said. 

In fact, Burt’s students decided they loved the MAD-learn platform so much, they want to begin using it for digital portfolios as soon as the next school year starts.  “Creating a digital portfolio app of work, honors, awards, accomplishments, and data that they can add to throughout the year…will help them organize, celebrate and keep [documentation] that will help with filling out applications, high school forms etc.  It will [also] cut down on the accumulation of paper – we’ll be going green!,” said Burt.

With standardized testing – and the dread that often accompanies it –  coming up in most states around the country, Burt has developed a creative solution to make review more fun and engaging for all of her students, while also learning how they can apply mobile app development in other areas of their lives as well. 

… watching this snippet of the official Unveiling of the New MAD-learn!! Special thanks to our amazing partners CSforALL, NCCEP, and Teq who spoke at the event with us and to all of the FANTASTIC attendees who made this unveiling so special. None of this would have been possible without YOU!