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App for that? It’s coming to Lyons Township High School

Lyons Township High School junior Alex Kimble from Western Springs explains his final project in a Java programming class Dec. 16 in La Grange. | Jane Michaels/Sun-Times Media
Juniors Anthony Fera, left, and Alex Kimble, both from Western Springs, talk over their final projects in a Java programming class Dec. 16 at Lyons Township High School in La Grange. | Jane Michaels/Sun-Times Media
Lyons Township High School teacher Natalie Carlson reviews one of her students' final projects in a Java programming class Dec. 16 in La Grange. | Jane Michaels/Sun-Times Media
Lyons Township High School teacher Natalie Carlson gives instructions for the final exam in her Java programming class Dec. 16 in La Grange. | Jane Michaels/Sun-Times Media
Brookfield junior Adam Espinosa plans to take an app development class in the fall at Lyons Township High School, following a Java programming course Dec. 16 in La Grange. | Jane Michaels/Sun-Times Media
Juniors Michael Metz, right, and Adam Stubitsch, both from LaGrange Park, plan to take an app development course in the fall at Lyons Township High School in La Grange. | Jane Michaels/Sun-Times Media

The next Steve Jobs could be popping up in a new class at Lyons Township High School.

Natalie Carlson, who teaches computer classes, will launch an iOS application development course in the fall for Apple devices including iPhones and iPads.

The app course will offer a double challenge. Students will learn Objective-C, a programming language, and XCode, the software allowing code to be entered into an Apple system and work properly when the user pinches, swipes or taps the screen.

“People think it’s very simple to make iPhone apps, but it’s really challenging,” Carlson said. “There are a lot of components to learn to create a successful app. That’s why there’s not millionaires everywhere. When an app hits, it’s a big deal.”

Carlson said about 15 students already have signed up.

“It’s not an introductory class, but for those serious about programming and who’ve already had a background in programming,” she said.

Western Springs junior Alex Kimble said he’s looking forward to the class after taking java programming this semester and visual basic programming` a year ago.

“Apps are huge now, and schools are using iPads and other devices. Some apps are so hands-on so kids can retain what they learn better,” Kimble said.

Although possibilities abound, Kimble said he’d like to develop an app to benefit LT students, possibly a program so they can easily view their grades.

LaGrange Park junior Adam Stubitsch, who has taken Java and a web development course, said he wants to take the class because, “I’m a big Apple guy.”

“I like using that stuff and want to get more advanced,” Stubitsch said. “I definitely want to go into computer programming.”

In addition, students will be exposed to the business and marketing side of app development. They can apply to have their program marketed through iTunes and receive some of the proceeds.

“Apple is incredible what they’ll do to protect the student or developer,” Carlson said. “They’ll review the app for copyright infringement, or if it doesn’t work right.”

Developers also can give away their apps for free, yet make money on advertisements running with the program. Users may opt to buy an upgraded version of the app without the ads.

“If I have an app just for LT students, there’s a lot of local businesses who would like to advertise, because 4,000 students would have this app on their phones,” Carlson said.

Carlson said she was curious about the app creation process so she enrolled in a course at the College of DuPage. She began working as a programmer in 1992 and knows a variety of computer programming languages. Her three children also are interested in app development.

Her final project, the Forest Hills Falcon Mad Minute Challenge, is an app based on a drill of math problems her children are required to do at their elementary school in Western Springs.

“It’s something my kids don’t love to do, but they need to practice,” she said. “It’s very uninteresting now. I’m trying to get it to work and will add the interesting stuff later, like explosions or fireworks.”

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