OAKHURST – A Freshman student at Yosemite High School (YHS) has created a free mobile application that gives Android users – and soon others – a new way to get essential school information quickly and easily. Ahwahnee resident Garrett White, 14, designed the new application for YHS students, staff and parents.
“I started working on this app at the beginning of the school year,” says White, who is part of the project-based Environmental and Spatial Technology (EAST) program at the high school. “This app is useful because it allows students easier access to resources the school offers, such as bus schedule, athletic calendar, library website, counselor email and more, through mobile devices.”The YHS web application is free and available for Android devices on the Google Play Market Place. Student White estimates the number of potential users who have Apple vs. Android devices to be around 650, and expects the app to become available for IOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod) on the Apple store fairly soon.
YHS Teacher Bob Collins facilitates EAST, and encouraged White during the app’s development stage.
“Garrett selected this as a project,” Collins says. “He and I continued to discuss the content, design of page, logistics of promoting and making it available to the public. The idea and design was all his.”
According to its national website, EAST is an educational nonprofit program that offers teachers and students professional technology and software for use in a loosely-structured, self-driven environment.
“EAST is a class that is philosophically based on allowing students an opportunity to work with the technology, including software and hardware, of their choice, to do community service,” explains Collins, a 30 year YHS veteran. “The students have access to multiple software programs, GIS/GIP, adobe collection, animation and countless others. They also have computers, digital camera equipment, editing equipment at their disposal.”
The YHS application is the first of its kind for the mountain school. Designer White taught himself to make apps about three years ago, and was further inspired during a trip to Stanford University in Northern California.
“I visited Stanford for a tour two years ago and found their university app to be very interesting and useful. So I wanted to replicate something like that for the high school,” he explains. “I have been working on computers for as long as I can remember. I went to my first programming camp when I was 8 at University of California, Berkeley. It was a video game programming camp.”
Right now, the YHS mobile app’s main screen has 8 applets, including bell schedule, library, event calendar, athletic calendar, counselor contact, photo gallery and resources. Even more will be added.
“Mr. Collins and my parents gave me feedback,” says White, the son of educators. “I like to do this kind of work because just like building something with Legos, creating content is a creative outlet. The computer is another canvas for original work. The interactive creation can also have function so the audience becomes part of the creation. It’s cool to see the audience interacting with your work of art.”
In between school athletics, playing guitar and composing on computer, White intends his app to link the YHS “Aeries” grade book and course catalog, and wants to make other improvements by opening menus for campus clubs, adding more pictures and making ad space available for community businesses.
“It has a ton of possibilities,” he says, and teacher Collins agrees.
“This class, if utilized properly by the students, is a tremendous opportunity to learn and at the same time impact society,” explains Collins. “What a great learning experience, to see your efforts touch the lives of others in a positive way.”
White plans to spread the word about the free YHS app using flyers and posters around campus, the EAST class www.youtube.com channel and social media.
Android users can download the free app here
For more information about EAST, go to http://www.eastinitiative.org