Need 'an app for that?' Call an Apex High student
Posted January 24, 2012
Apex, N.C. — Students at Apex High School will soon try to fill in the gaps on mobile devices where there's not "an app for that."
Apex High is one of five schools nationwide taking part in a pilot program to teach students how to design, develop and market software applications for smart phones and tablet computers.
Gov. Beverly Perdue called the program a perfect example of innovative education tailored to tomorrow's workforce.
"I can remember the first time somebody said to me, 'I've got a new phone, and I'm going to download some apps,' and I thought, 'What are they talking about?'" Perdue said Tuesday. "Now, we're not only downloading them, we all know what they are, and you all are going to have the opportunity and the skill set to figure out how to develop them. You'll lead the world."
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology oversaw creation of the 12-week instructional program, and Morrisville-based Lenovo provided each high school with dozens of tablet computers to help them understand mobile technology and consumer needs.
Lenovo research shows that, while students have a strong interest in mobile apps and see app development as a valuable skill, less than two-thirds are "somewhat confident" that they will have the technology background needed for tomorrow’s workforce.
Company Vice President Tom Looney said app developers will likely be in high demand for a long time to come.
"Last year, 17 billion apps were downloaded, and over the next two years, that number will rise to 138 billion apps being downloaded," Looney said.
More than 200 Apex High students have applied for the after-school program, and some said they already have ideas for apps that they could work on.
"I personally have ADHD, and one of the things I have problems with sometimes is time management, so possibly one where you would actually have a timer and it would let you know how much time's gone by," senior Ian Rowe said.
Sophomore Amanda Bizune said apps could help her in her future career as a veterinarian.
"It would help if I could put GPS in animals and then track them on my tablet, but they might already have that," Bizune said.
The other high schools taking part in the program are in New York City, Los Angeles, Hartford, Conn., and Waco, Texas. Officials said they hope to eventually roll the program out nationwide.