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Blog: Blog2
  • Writer's pictureTara Bordeaux

Coding Camp Lessons & Activities

Updated: Feb 8, 2020

Throughout the Coding Camp, my mind was consistently blown away by the level of training and the scope of the information we received. From the simplicity of jotting down app ideas on paper, to working through mathematical formulas to run print mapping, learning code, and creating digital prototypes of our apps; it was all amazing. So many cool innovative tools to bring back to the classroom

The part of the training that stood out to me the most was the app prototype that we worked on throughout the week. I had absolutely no idea how awesome Keynote really is. I certainly was not expecting to use it to prototype an app. Things really got exciting when we added Xcode into our bag of learning tools

Prototyping with Xcode

All of us were given the opportunity to choose an industry partner to work on creating an app for. They were all really strong organizations and I had a hard time choosing which one I wanted to work with. In the end, it came down to my desire to create an app that I felt passionate about,, so I chose Communities in Schools (CIS).

We have worked with CIS on our campus for several years, and I am proud of the work they do with our students.

John Duck, (left) from Communities in Schools of Central Texas, gives feedback on an app designed by 2018 Texas Teacher of the Year Tara Bordeaux (right).

For me, the app had a very important purpose. I want to help students have a way of dealing with some of the social emotional issues they are struggling with. Most importantly, to use the app as a lifeline in times of extreme duress, such as suicidal tendencies. It is personal to me because I have had multiple students contemplate or attempt, including a student who took his own life on campus. I have also lost several friends to suicide, including one of my best friends from high school, Shauna, who was the inspiration for my app.

Shauna Greaham

The app is called 14. It was in reference to Shauna's basketball number in high school, and also a play on the words "For Teens."

Within the app there is a journal writer, calendar, safe box, and 1-button fast access to personal lifelines, and professional help resources.

My hope is that the app can help young people find more constructive ways of dealing with their emotions.

Below are some images of the preliminary prototype I made at the Coding Camp. My goal is to work with my students to get their input on what options they feel need to be added to or removed from the app, then spend the upcoming summer working on the second draft of the app.

Side note: Unfortunately, I was unable to attend our vertical team's coding camp for students this year because I was committed to a prior engagement during the week it was scheduled. It has also been difficult to do some of the activities with my own students due to an inability to share equipment because of district restrictions on profile management.

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