Students can build apps and collaboration skills at the same time. Today's episode features my friend Alefiya Master, the CEO of MAD-Learn, and the sponsor of today's show. We discuss the transformative role of app-building, collaborative learning, design thinking, and the importance of authentic learning experiences. Alefiya shares how app building can enhance STEM education and how it also teaches essential skills like teamwork, problem-solving, and passion-based learning. If you're doing collaborative projects and design in your classroom, you'll get practical ideas for how you can modify your projects to encourage collaboration and real-world learning.

How to Create Apps in the Classroom and Inspire Design Thinking

App building can help students learn project based learning, collaborative skills, and solve real world problems. Today, learn how students are building apps so you can apply it to your own project based learning activities.

Students can build apps and collaboration skills at the same time. Today's episode features my friend Alefiya Master, the CEO of MAD-Learn, and the sponsor of today's show. We discuss the transformative role of app-building, collaborative learning, design thinking, and the importance of authentic learning experiences.

Alefiya shares how app building can enhance STEM education and how it also teaches essential skills like teamwork, problem-solving, and passion-based learning.

If you're doing collaborative projects and design in your classroom, you'll get practical ideas for how you can modify your projects to encourage collaboration and real-world learning.

The real world is you have to learn to motivate and work with people. It's not just about controlling yourself but learning to collaborate effectively." Vicki Davis episode 846 of the 10 MInute Teacher Podcast
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    This week's sponsor

    MAD-Learn - Mobile App Development

    MAD-Learn is a free, easy tool for students to use to build apps of their own in a private space for just you and your students. You can publish it and share it with a limited audience, or design something bigger. When people ask me my favorite App-building tool, I always say MAD-Learn. MAD-Learn is an amazing collaborative app building tool. Not only have I used MAD-Learn for the first global collaborative app-building project, I love having my students build together and host a "shark tank competition." I love how my students can edit together but can also view live changes on their smartphones using a QR code demo that is still private just to them and me. Their site is full of every presentation, rubric, and even a full curricuulm to teach design thinking and app building. Go to coolcatteacher.com/freetrialmadlearn to start your trial today.
    Sponsor

    ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Sponsors make this show possible but do not preapprove or necessarily endorse the content. Please support our sponsors by clicking on the link and checking out their services. We only recommend the best in education on the 10 Minute Teacher! Learn what it means for this to be a sponsored episode.

    YouTube Video (Live at 1pm on date of post)

    Alefiya Master - This week's guest

    Alefiya Master is the founder and CEO of the award-winning app development program, MAD-learn. She believes that enabling students to have career choices driven by their passions should be a key focus for all educational institutions. Master takes pride that she, as a young, minority, female educator, was able to found and grow two EdTech companies that now reach more than 40,000 students in 30 states and five countries. She knows the role of education in workforce development and the need to have all kids learn to think and create for themselves, as opposed to just being consumers of technology and innovation. Master strongly believes that since we don't know what jobs are going to be available 10 years from now, we have to teach kids how to create their own. Her degree in psychology and education from Emory, along with her training and experience as a Montessori teacher, fuels her interest in wide-scale education improvement. Blog: https://www.mad-learn.com Twitter: @madlearnAlefiya Master is the founder and CEO of the award-winning app development program, MAD-learn. She believes that enabling students to have career choices driven by their passions should be a key focus for all educational institutions.

    Master takes pride that she, as a young, minority, female educator, was able to found and grow two EdTech companies that now reach more than 40,000 students in 30 states and five countries. She knows the role of education in workforce development and the need to have all kids learn to think and create for themselves, as opposed to just being consumers of technology and innovation.

    Master strongly believes that since we don't know what jobs are going to be available 10 years from now, we have to teach kids how to create their own. Her degree in psychology and education from Emory, along with her training and experience as a Montessori teacher, fuels her interest in wide-scale education improvement.

    Blog: https://www.mad-learn.com

    Twitter: @madlearn

    From the Emory University Bio of Alefiya Master.

    🎙️ Show Notes

    Resources Mentioned:

    • MAD-Learn: A comprehensive tool for app-building in the classroom, facilitating students in creating their own mobile applications. For more information, visit MAD-Learn's website.
    • ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education): A global community of educators passionate about using technology to solve tough problems in education. Alefiya and Vicki recount a memorable encounter at an ISTE event. Find out more at ISTE's website.
    • “Potato World” on Mad Store: An app developed by students, showcasing the versatility and importance of potatoes. This example highlights the creativity and engagement app-building can inspire in students. Access it through the Mad Store App.

    Takeaways:

    • You will learn about the power of app-building in engaging students with STEM subjects, leveraging their familiarity and comfort with smartphones to introduce complex concepts in a relatable manner.
    • You will hear about the importance of collaborative learning and how setting roles and responsibilities within student groups can mirror real-world project management, fostering essential teamwork and communication skills.
    • Discover the significance of design thinking in the educational process, where students empathize, ideate, and iterate to solve problems, developing critical thinking along the way.
    • Learn how authentic learning experiences, through the creation and sharing of apps, can motivate students by giving them a tangible sense of achievement and the opportunity to impact real-world issues.
    • Understand the role of teachers in facilitating technology-enhanced learning, including strategies for managing diverse student projects and encouraging meaningful collaboration among students with varied interests and strengths.

    📝 Transcript

    I used AI in either Premiere Pro or Riverside to help with this transcript. I did proofread it. If you see mistakes, just contact me and let me know. YouTube autotranscripts are not pre-viewed. Thank you!

    Transcript

    00:00:01:05 – 00:00:04:18
    John
    This is the 10 Minute Teacher podcast with your host, Vicki Davis.

    00:00:05:00 – 00:00:18:15
    Vicki Davis
    Today's podcast is being sponsored by Mad Learn, my favorite tool for app building and the one I'm using this year with my ninth-grade students. Stay tuned at the end of the show to learn how you can get a hands-on free trial.

    00:00:18:15 – 00:00:34:12
    Vicki
    So today we're talking with my friend Alefiya Master from MAD-Learn. Now, it's not a commercial. You know, I don't have a lot of companies on here. Ten years ago, in the hallway at ISTE. You had a little girl. It was in Atlanta that she was presenting… what was her name, Kennedy? What that her name?

    00:00:34:12 – 00:00:37:11
    Alefiya
    Was that Kennedy had a fabulous memory.

    00:00:37:13 – 00:00:56:23
    Vicki
    Ha ha… it's not usually that good. It was talking about an app she had made. And I was like, what is this app? And then I interviewed her down at the company, and then Alefiya and I became friends. For many, many years, my students have built on her platform. Then, we did the first global collaborative app building with Matt about Mattering.

    00:00:57:04 – 00:00:58:03
    Alefiya
    Thanks to you.

    00:00:58:03 – 00:01:19:19
    Vicki
    And a lot of other people. But today we actually want to talk about building apps with students and collaboration. So some teachers think, well, it's hard to get students in a group of two to work together and how can you get kids to collaboratively build apps together? So what's what are the current best practices you're seeing as you work with teachers?

    00:01:19:19 – 00:01:38:19
    Alefiya
    We learn from the best and we have learned so much from you. And I'm so glad that you have me on today because it truly is. You have been such an inspiration for me for our whole team as we've really developed and continue to constantly develop what we can offer our teachers and students. And so one of the best examples that you've shown us is making it.

    00:01:38:19 – 00:01:39:20
    Alefiya
    Meaningful, right?

    00:01:39:20 – 00:01:43:09
    Alefiya
    Really, truly making it meaningful for the students. We talk.

    00:01:43:09 – 00:01:44:05
    Alefiya
    About collaboration.

    00:01:44:05 – 00:01:46:20
    Alefiya
    It's not just arbitrarily. These are the four kids that are going.

    00:01:46:20 – 00:01:56:22
    Alefiya
    To be on that team, you have to work together. It's figuring out what interests them, what drives them, and what they're passionate about. If I remember correctly, some of your kids made apps about some really.

    00:01:57:00 – 00:01:59:01
    Alefiya
    Intense social issues.

    00:01:59:03 – 00:02:10:09
    Vicki
    Yeah, there was one on self-harm and cutting called Uncut, and that was a tough one; I'll admit, it is not for everybody because we had to have a lot of conversations to not trigger.

    00:02:10:09 – 00:02:12:20
    Alefiya
    Absolutely. And they did. A group of kids came.

    00:02:12:20 – 00:02:16:22
    Alefiya
    Together because they felt a certain way about it and they wanted to help and they wanted.

    00:02:16:22 – 00:02:19:08
    Alefiya
    To create something that was meaningful. So I think.

    00:02:19:08 – 00:02:24:07
    Alefiya
    The forced collaboration is where we tend to find that struggle and the battle of, I don't want to.

    00:02:24:07 – 00:02:30:09
    Alefiya
    Work with so-and-so or that's not my friend or but if you focus it on affinity and affinity grouping and interest.

    00:02:30:09 – 00:02:35:08
    Alefiya
    Grouping and passion grouping, you tend to see that natural collaboration.

    00:02:35:08 – 00:02:36:20
    Alefiya
    Ensue. And it is it's.

    00:02:36:20 – 00:02:37:03
    Alefiya
    So.

    00:02:37:03 – 00:02:39:16
    Alefiya
    Important to have our kids collaborate.

    00:02:39:18 – 00:02:50:17
    Vicki
    So how is it working now? How are teachers finding those affinity groups, this passion, common passions? Are they doing it with like post-it note brainstorming on the board or how's that coming about in classrooms?

    00:02:50:17 – 00:02:51:10
    Alefiya
    Now everything that we.

    00:02:51:10 – 00:02:54:11
    Alefiya
    Believe is so fundamental for students is the.

    00:02:54:11 – 00:02:57:21
    Alefiya
    Process of design thinking, right? That engineering design process.

    00:02:57:21 – 00:02:59:07
    Alefiya
    That we know is so important.

    00:02:59:08 – 00:03:11:10
    Alefiya
    The first step of that is brainstorming, empathizing, coming up with an idea, ideation. A lot of you know, within my learning, for example, we have integrated modules for design thinking. All of those six steps are integrated.

    00:03:11:10 – 00:03:16:01
    Alefiya
    Into the tool. So when I log in and say, okay, I want to create an app, step one think of an idea.

    00:03:16:03 – 00:03:26:23
    Alefiya
    Now I can actually see a list of ideas from everyone else in my school, and I could say, so-and-so is doing that or so-and-so is interested in that. Maybe I can work with him or so-and-so has that idea, but.

    00:03:26:23 – 00:03:32:13
    Alefiya
    I think this might be a cool thing. Let me go talk to them and see if we can work together. So you're not just in your.

    00:03:32:13 – 00:03:37:03
    Alefiya
    Own silo of my ideas, because sometimes it's hard right to think of an idea. That first step.

    00:03:37:03 – 00:03:38:21
    Alefiya
    Is often the hardest.

    00:03:38:23 – 00:03:40:02
    Alefiya
    Now we have this.

    00:03:40:02 – 00:03:43:06
    Alefiya
    Inspiration board, if you will, where you can share ideas across the school.

    00:03:43:09 – 00:04:01:01
    Vicki
    When working with genius projects and app-building projects, I always try to find those things that I'll tell a student. They're like, Well, I don't know what to do. And I'll say, Well, what's something that you could just talk to me about forever? And maybe a lot of your friends might say they're bored, but what is that thing you can just go on and on about because that kind of shows your passions?

    00:04:01:01 – 00:04:10:02
    Vicki
    And when you can put those kids together, whether you're talking about Minecraft or whatever it is, then there's no end in their interest level. In that topic.

    00:04:10:03 – 00:04:12:00
    Alefiya
    I have to tell you a story of one of my.

    00:04:12:00 – 00:04:12:21
    Alefiya
    Favorite apps

    00:04:12:21 – 00:04:14:04
    Alefiya
    So we have an app called Mad.

    00:04:14:04 – 00:04:26:12
    Alefiya
    Store, which is our version of the App Store. So the best apps get published on the Mad Store. There is one on there called Potato World. Look it up on the Mad Store Potato world. I kid you not. This is an app.

    00:04:26:12 – 00:04:27:22
    Alefiya
    All about potatoes.

    00:04:27:23 – 00:04:34:00
    Alefiya
    Now, when I when I heard this from the kids, I was like, really? Come on, guys. But it is one of the most liked and.

    00:04:34:00 – 00:04:38:09
    Alefiya
    Highest-rated apps on our app store. It's in-depth information about all.

    00:04:38:09 – 00:04:49:17
    Alefiya
    Kinds of potatoes. There's a potato video, there's a talking potato, there's a potato award. I mean, recipes with potatoes, anything you can think of because that group of kids, we're like, we love potatoes. We're going to make a potato.

    00:04:49:19 – 00:05:11:22
    Vicki
    Yeah. And I mean, one of the best that one of my students created was Drone Zone. And it was all about drones. Okay, So you have your design thinking, you have your ideation, and then you start building together and, you know, some of the typical issues that you have when you start building together. How would you characterize these issues as teachers start collaborating and working together so they can know what things do you observe?

    00:05:12:01 – 00:05:19:08
    Alefiya
    One of the biggest things is setting roles and responsibilities within a team. And it's not that that person is only going.

    00:05:19:08 – 00:05:24:01
    Alefiya
    To do that, but that person is the one responsible for it to get it done somehow.

    00:05:24:01 – 00:05:26:03
    Alefiya
    So for example, who's going to be the.

    00:05:26:03 – 00:05:27:19
    Alefiya
    Designer of our team.

    00:05:27:21 – 00:05:30:04
    Alefiya
    And work on the images and the look and the feel.

    00:05:30:04 – 00:05:31:05
    Alefiya
    For our app?

    00:05:31:07 – 00:05:33:09
    Alefiya
    Who is going to be the coder.

    00:05:33:11 – 00:05:34:07
    Alefiya
    And really.

    00:05:34:10 – 00:05:35:13
    Alefiya
    Kind of create some.

    00:05:35:13 – 00:05:37:01
    Alefiya
    In-depth screens for our app.

    00:05:37:01 – 00:05:40:13
    Alefiya
    Who's going to be the one that's testing it and making sure it works, being a part.

    00:05:40:13 – 00:05:40:22
    Alefiya
    Of that.

    00:05:41:03 – 00:05:41:15
    Alefiya
    Iterative.

    00:05:41:15 – 00:05:48:04
    Alefiya
    Process right? All the kids should have experiences with all of those things, but if you are collaborating and working together as a team.

    00:05:48:05 – 00:05:50:01
    Alefiya
    Having some of those roles like you would in.

    00:05:50:01 – 00:05:50:22
    Alefiya
    Real life, right at a.

    00:05:50:22 – 00:05:56:00
    Alefiya
    Company, we have teams, we have a project manager, we have all kinds of different people that are doing different.

    00:05:56:00 – 00:05:56:23
    Alefiya
    Things, but we have to work.

    00:05:56:23 – 00:05:57:07
    Alefiya
    So.

    00:05:57:09 – 00:05:58:17
    Alefiya
    Closely together.

    00:05:58:19 – 00:05:59:05
    Alefiya
    And I think.

    00:05:59:05 – 00:06:04:22
    Alefiya
    Emulating some of that in the classroom is so helpful as well. It's not that one person again.

    00:06:04:22 – 00:06:05:10
    Alefiya
    Real world.

    00:06:05:10 – 00:06:05:20
    Alefiya
    Setting.

    00:06:05:23 – 00:06:09:14
    Alefiya
    It's not that one person at a company is doing all of the roles.

    00:06:09:14 – 00:06:15:18
    Alefiya
    Or all of the jobs that that company needs. You have specializations, but then you have to work together and kind of bring it all together.

    00:06:15:18 – 00:06:32:11
    Vicki
    And as the teacher, having teams or project managers and APMs assistant project managers is really, really helpful from a management standpoint because if you've got 6 to 8 apps being built in a classroom, you can have a meeting with your PMS and your APMs, and you can kind of help kids understand, okay, this is how the real world works.

    00:06:32:11 – 00:06:46:18
    Vicki
    Some kids, you know, when I do it, almost can have a pushback on the emotional intelligence required because they're like, Well, I just want to do it by myself. I can control myself. And you're like, Hey, that's not the real world. The real world is you have to learn to motivate and work with people.

    00:06:46:18 – 00:06:53:08
    Alefiya
    It really is. And there are people that have learned and realized that they're individual contributors and they're really good.

    00:06:53:08 – 00:06:54:19
    Alefiya
    At that, and that's where they need.

    00:06:54:19 – 00:07:01:03
    Alefiya
    To function and that's fine. But in a world that is changing as quickly as it is, we know we can't.

    00:07:01:03 – 00:07:03:01
    Alefiya
    Prepare our kids for the jobs of.

    00:07:03:01 – 00:07:19:12
    Alefiya
    Tomorrow. We don't know what those jobs are going to be. So what we can prepare them with is those skills. And like my dear friend Greg Stone, who has been with me at MAD-Learn since the very beginning, likes to say it's not soft skills. It's vital and transferable skills. Right, Right. What are the skills that we can teach our kids.

    00:07:19:12 – 00:07:24:18
    Alefiya
    That transfer across careers, across industry? And they're so vital. They're so vital.

    00:07:24:18 – 00:07:41:11
    Vicki
    And one of the things I really like is having authentic products for kids, and that's what an app does, like how they can see it and they can see the life changes and they can see the things that are happening. So what you observe happens to kids when they see something that they made and they see it on their phone.

    00:07:41:13 – 00:07:43:17
    Alefiya
    That is the best part. You know, a lot of times.

    00:07:43:17 – 00:07:49:12
    Alefiya
    We get the question why apps, right? I can learn how to create anything. I can code anything and why apps.

    00:07:49:14 – 00:07:50:20
    Alefiya
    The reason that we focus.

    00:07:50:20 – 00:08:02:19
    Alefiya
    On apps and building apps and getting kids to build apps is because the reality is every student has or has access to that phone. That's right. And they're on their phone. 24 seven. That is the.

    00:08:02:19 – 00:08:20:04
    Alefiya
    Language. They speak much more than their computer or whatever else that we've got in the room. The phone is what they get. I was on a panel. I was listening to a panel of high school students just a couple of months ago, a lunch panel, and it was seven kids. Somebody in the audience said, So tell us about the cell phone policy in your school and the student said, When you.

    00:08:20:04 – 00:08:24:13
    Alefiya
    Take my phone away from me at the beginning of class, you might laugh.

    00:08:24:13 – 00:08:29:05
    Alefiya
    But to me it feels like you're pulling my arm off. That's how important these phones are to the kids.

    00:08:29:09 – 00:08:38:22
    Alefiya
    So let's use that as a hook to bring them into computer science and STEM. Right? It needs to not just be our five or ten kids that are in a computer science class. It needs to be all of.

    00:08:38:22 – 00:09:02:19
    Vicki
    Our kids, which is what's so great about object-oriented type programming for you. Focus on the text inside. So Alefiya Master, MAD-Learn, talking about project-based learning. We're talking about collaborative learning. We're talking about authentic learning with authentic products. These are all things that we need a classroom that we've been talking about for a very long time; that is very cool to use quite a bit in my history to help kids build apps.

    00:09:02:19 – 00:09:04:01
    Vicki
    So thanks for coming on.

    00:09:04:03 – 00:09:05:14
    Alefiya
    Thank you for having me, Vicki.

    00:09:05:14 – 00:09:15:05
    Vicki
    Today, Sponsor Mad Learn is an easy tool for students to use to build apps of their own in a private space for just you and your students.

    00:09:15:07 – 00:09:24:02
    Vicki
    You can publish it and share it with a limited audience or design something bigger. When people ask me my favorite app building tool, I always say, MAD Learn.

    00:09:24:02 – 00:09:34:14
    Vicki
    Not only have I used MAD Learn for the first Global Collaborative App building project, I love having my students build together and host a Shark Tank competition.

    00:09:34:16 – 00:09:56:15
    SVicki
    I love how my students can edit together, but also view live changes on their smartphone using a QR code demo that is still private just to them and me. Their site is full of every presentation, rubric and even a full curriculum so I can teach design thinking and app building to my students. Go to cool cat teacher dot com forward slash.

    00:09:56:16 – 00:10:06:04
    Vicki
    Try MAD-Learn and sign up today for your free trial. That's coolcatteacher.com/trymadlearn.

    00:10:06:04 – 00:10:27:08
    Speaker 1
    You've been listening to the Ten Minute Teacher podcast. If you want more content from Vicki Davis, you can find her on Facebook. XCOM TikTok Threads. Instagram Blue Sky and YouTube at Cool Cat Teacher. Thank you for listening.

     

    Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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    Vicki Davis

    Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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