A couple weeks ago, in opening a dialogue on computer programming at SCH Academy, I wrote Coding In Education. In that blog I briefly mentioned REMIX interACTIVE……a large scale project in partnership with Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, Boys’ Latin of Philadelphia Charter School, Drexel University Excite Center, and Play on Philly! Students are working together to remix music for performance by Play on Philly! In addition, SCH Academy students will create a light show app in partnership with the Drexel University ExCITe Center.
As a part of that project, a team of SCH Academy students had an amazing opportunity earlier this year to learn how to develop iOS apps. Prior to this work, most of them had no experience in computer programming. For five weeks they engaged in intensive XCode training. Working alongside these students, I was impressed by their dedication and intelligence. At the end of the five weeks, two students asked to continue with their XCode work by participating in REMIX interACTIVE. Eleventh grader Jordan Zagerman and tenth grader Sebastian Martinez decided to develop an app to change the way concert events could be experienced by a given audience.
As a part of their coursework in iOS apps, I asked Sebastian and Jordan to reflect on what they’ve achieved this far:
For the last four months we have been learning to program in Xcode, a program that is made for developing iOS applications. To that end, we have been communicating with several members of Drexel’s Mobile App Lab to help us learn how to properly approach building this program. With their help we have gone from knowing virtually nothing about iOS development to creating our own applications. We have a new appreciation for the amount of thought, time, and energy that goes into the difficult process of creating quality applications. Programming in general is a very delicate process, unlike humans computers lack common sense. This can be frustrating because one misspelled word could be the difference between a blank screen and a medley of colors. These speed bumps are often inevitable, but the advantage of working as a team, is that we normally don’t make the same mistakes. So one of us is bound to know what to do. So far we have completed the basic necessities of the applications.
The app is designed to respond to a server connected to a microphone on stage, and change color according to various sound levels. Our vision however, is to make the app independent of any server, and let an iPhone change color based on what the build in microphone hears. This would make it possible for any concert or music festival to be Remix Interactive. We’ve been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to collaborate with the CEL Venture Incubator to create this version—hopefully it make it’s way to market.
Stay tuned as this collaborative effort is certain to be an exciting event—the performance, and coinciding iPhone light show will take place at World Cafe Live on April 27th at 1:30 P.M.