Monday, June 10, 2013

Crawford High students develop app for neighborhood information

Inspired by a CNN report about a group that builds mobile-phone applications for government agencies, a group of Crawford High School students decided to try to replicate that model in their City Heights neighborhood. But they shifted the focus to community organizations.

Their first project was creating an app for Mid-City Community Advocacy Network (Mid-City CAN), so City Heights residents could stay up to date on events, news, social media and staff contacts.

The group of students, called Crawford High School Apps for Community, in Andrea Cascia’s College Career and Technical Education Web Architecture class, spent about six weeks creating the app.

Team member Arlene Flores, 16, described what she learned.

“I was able to experience what it was like to work with a client and work with a group to develop something,” Arlene said. “I also learned a lot about Mid-City CAN.”

Students created a mock-up of the app with design software. They programmed it with internet-coding langMid-City CAN App uage and other types of coding, including JavaScript.

They got to show off their finished work at the 2013 Office of College, Career and Technical Education Showcase, where dozens of San Diego Unified students demonstrated their projects. The Apps for Community team had cookies printed with an illustration of a mobile phone containing the Mid-City CAN and Crawford High School logos. Their booth also had signboards explaining some of the background for their project.

The group chose to create an app for Mid-City CAN because they felt a connection to its work.

“I heard about what they do -- they help kids keep off the street and create skate parks and other community-related things,” Steven Ly, 16, said. “I wanted to get involved and help spread the word.”

Other team members included Phuc Nguyen, 16, Kevin Turcios, 17 and Juan Munguia-Lara, 18.

The group’s teacher was pleased by the final product.

“The app will help Mid-City CAN reach its youth audience,” Cascia said. “It is motivating for students to see mobile technology used to do good in their community.”

Steven was the main app developer. He took several online classes to help him develop the app.

“I got to use what I learned online and put it in an app,” he said. “I was the only one in the class that was coding at the moment.”

To download the app, use the QR code in the photo. For more information on the program, contact Cascia at