There's really no limit to how teachers can incorporate MAD-learn into the classroom. Students can create apps for English-language arts (ELA) on characterization, or design choose-your-own-adventure applications. Engage kids in conceptualizing math activities that focus on skill development or game-based learning. In social studies, challenge students to create virtual field trips through places with historical significance, and spend a class or two exploring the worlds they created. Or charge students with creating a foreign language app where their peers can have fun while learning valuable conversation skills.
Encourage kids to start coding or further develop their skills by writing the code for their application, and while you're at it, consider developing coding skills yourself. The lessons contained on the site are designed to assist any teacher wanting to implement the four C's into their curriculum, making the development of 21st-century skills an attainable goal.Continue reading Show less
MAD-learn is a mobile application development website where teachers guide students through the design process from start to finish. The developer's YouTube playlist and lesson plan library will help students learn the basics step by step, but the user interface is surprisingly intuitive. Teachers create classes to manage their students, comment on designs, and view analytics, and users can add design collaborators from within or across schools.
For the build, students generate ideas for design, content, and flow for their app via a mind map. In the design phase, students choose a template or upload images for the app's different screens (splash, home, icon, augmented reality, etc.) for both mobile devices and tablets. Here, students customize their app's layout by choosing themes, colors, and shapes to make it their own. The next phase, content, is where creators really dig in, adding text, buttons, and graphics and linking to other screens. Both sides of the screen contain HTML code; students can modify what's there or write their own commands and press the play button to see their changes reflected on a device's screen.
Along the way, students can preview their own and others' apps on their devices with a unique nine-digit code. The developer didn't leave out real-world applications, either -- if students come up with something unique, there's an opportunity to submit their app to MAD-learn for publishing consideration.
From inception to publication, MAD-learn encourages student engagement in the design process. Because students design at their own pace, differentiation is an easy fit. The platform encourages design thinking from the start, with mind maps preceding any sort of layout or content design. This encourages students to really think about what they're creating and why it has value. Students will engage in creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and coding while exploring the iterative process of revision and testing.
The site's support features coupled with teacher guidance are key: If kids get stuck on a skill, there's likely a tutorial, blog post, or lesson that will help them get unstuck. The biggest challenge for teachers will be students who are overwhelmed by or disinterested in mobile app development. Encouraging collaboration might help here, especially if less experienced kids are grouped with peers who have a passion for coding or design.
Key Standards Supported
Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.
Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to change to define a simple problem that can be solved through the development of a new or improved object or tool.
Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.
Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.
Design a solution to a complex real-world problem by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable problems that can be solved through engineering.
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