"The app process is so much fun but can prove to take a significant amount of work," Clare Grammig (21'). ((Photo Credit: Chloe Mintz/ Achona Online))
"The app process is so much fun but can prove to take a significant amount of work," Clare Grammig (21').

(Photo Credit: Chloe Mintz/ Achona Online)

AP Computer Science Principles Designs Apps for Nonprofits

February 10, 2020

As required of the AP Computer Science Principles curriculum, students are expected to both program and design an original computer application to be presented to members of the College Board. In recent years, Jessica Lamm, Academy’s Computer Science instructor, has allowed students to create an app of their choosing. The catch: students must cater to the needs of the Academy’s faculty and students (programs portraying academic calendars and virtual therapists have been of the greatest popularity among Lamm’s students). 

The success of previous applications begs the question: why stop at the Academy community? 

After attending J.P. Morgan’s Generation Tech event, Lamm opted to change course this spring. Members of Computer Science Principles have been instructed to develop apps that have the potential to better both society and nonprofit organizations under the guidance of those enrolled in Computer Science A (the course succeeding Principles).

The girls in the Computer Science A class are acting as the scrum masters for the projects the CSP groups are working on. Essentially, we (the Computer Science A girls) are acting as the team managers. We are responsible for the communication between the Computer Science Principles groups and the nonprofits. We make sure that the girls are prepared for their meetings, effectively collaborating, and are following their timelines.”

— Clare Grammig ('21)

Prior to computational development, Lamm had suggested students recruit companies with which they had a direct connection or had felt most inclined to help. Such associations included Bess the Book Bus, Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful, The Bailey Family Foundation, The Ryan Neece Foundation, Special Operations Warrior Foundation, The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, The Spring, and St. Jude’s. 

On Feb. 3 and 4, members of Computer Science Principles and A met with their respective organizations to discuss both their nonprofit’s purpose and potential opportunities for tech to help each company. Common desires consisted of helping said organizations function online, advance clientele, and promote internal efficiency.

“I am working with The Spring, and I love their mission to help people overcome domestic violence. My company wants us to create an app to help with the mental wellbeing of the employees at The Spring,” Gabriella Martinez (‘23).

Having met with their organizations, students will be given until the end of April to complete their apps. To manage the complex computer programming, students have been divided into small groups to complete a singular facet of each app as opposed to manufacturing the program in its entirety.

(Photo Credit: Chloe Mintz/ Achona Online)
Students will use the application, Code.org, to program their apps. Fortunately, Code.org alternates between JavaScript and Blockly (coding languages) to assist those new to programming.

Students will have a chance to present their applications to a panel of investors at the University of Tampa in April. Finally, students will submit both their programs and corresponding written responses to the College Board in April as well.

“My expectations for the project are quite high. The groups are extremely devoted and appear to be truly passionate about what they are preparing. This is such a unique experience that provides the students not only with computer science experience but with extremely critical communication skills that are vital for their futures. I am so eager to see what the groups can come up with and how they plan to tackle certain issues that they may come across,” Grammig (‘21).

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