Wagar students building app for their peers
By Jordan Stoopler
It is being billed as a project done “for students, by students.”
Elias Tanbe’s user interface and user experience design classes at Wagar Adult Education Centre have been working together to create an app to address the growing needs of their fellow students.
“The project was initially meant to critique other popular apps and see how well they address the needs of their clients,” said Tanbe, the creator and coordinator of the program, which was formed under the sociovocational integration umbrella three years ago. “The idea was then raised about how we can address the needs of students at Wagar.”
Initially, 18 students were divided into pairs, and later, two larger groups as they competed against each other. A jury, composed of the school’s principal, vice principal and education counselor, chose the winning group, taking into account the different functions, features, design and user interface ideas proposed.
The jury insisted that the chosen app implement some of the features from the losing app,” said Tanbe. “It is an interesting dynamic. At first, everyone was pitted against each other. Now, they are using every skill they have learned in a collaborative manner. It is the first time they are working together in such a large group.”
Student Michelle Perron-Elgee shared her opinion as the leader of the winning team. She said that she is a competitive person by nature but during this project she didn't feel like she was in competition with the others, and instead felt like they were all working together for the success of the project.
The app will include weather alerts and announcements of school closures during winter storms, an events page, personalized student schedules so students can better track their time, a discussion forum and the school guidebook.
In the early fall, the app was still in development, with students meeting weekly to work on the project and iron out security issues. The plan is for the app to officially be launched in the spring of 2024 and made available to all Wagar students via the App Store and Google Play.
Tanbe says there is great demand for this app at Wagar, particularly amongst the school’s special needs community. Students polled were very supportive of the idea, as were the school’s administration.
”The principal and vice principal were perhaps the most supportive,” said Tanbe. “They knew it would help students out a lot.”