Building an APP with students: The joys and lessons

On January 23rd, 2013, the Avila College APP Group's APP, Lock Spin, went live on the App Store. A few days earlier, it had been available from Google Play. In this post, I reflect on some of the lessons I drew from this experience.
The idea behind Lock Spin was to help incoming year 7s learn how to use their combination locks. It also turned a familiar item at school into something we could have fun with.

Before I go any further, these are the links for downloading the APP:
App Store:
Google Play:

The joys

Our splash screen
  • I know I am not the first to say it, but here goes: We don't make enough things in schools. Would a statement like the one below be written about a test?
My family and friends are all so amazed at the finished product and can't believe that we actually created such an awesome app to show off to the world.
  • It was an opportunity to teach students new mathematical concepts with a purpose. For once, the answer to the perennial question: "When am I going to use this in real life?" was obvious. The need came before the instruction.
  • Students with digital art skills were able to help us and put their name on the product. A brilliant music student also provided us with the an original sound track. I hope they remember to mention their contribution on their resumes.

Lessons from the experience

    Built with Corona SDK
  • This year, I have a better idea of the learning sequence that the students need. I hope to have a website with lessons and challenges, so that new students and returning ones can learn at different paces.
  • We need "marketers": Students who give us some presence on social media. The point of this is not so much to increase the downloads. It is part of the experience of being APP developers.
  • Get the artists involved early in the process. Late changes to the art can mean extra integration time.


There are many people to thank and congratulate. Particularly, I would like to thank Peach Pellen (formerly of Corona Labs) and Rob Miracle of Corona Labs for their invaluable technical advice.


Peach Pellen said…
I didn't see this until I got sent a link today; thanks very much for the acknowledgement :-)

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