APPS R US
By: Joe Wortkoetter
By: Joe Wortkoetter
Offering students the chance to develop apps for needs around Clemson’s campus, Dr. Roy Pargas, associate professor in the School of Computing, invites students to the Apps R Us Creative Inquiry team. At the beginning of each semester, faculty, administrators and students pitch ideas to the team and vie for being adopted as one of the projects for the students in this Creative Inquiry.
As with the rapid advances in mobile technology, app development is constantly evolving. For Pargas, however, the development process began long before the introduction of mobile devices. In fact, the beginnings of this Creative Inquiry can be traced to tablet PCs, a technology that is now a rarity. Noting the origin of the Creative Inquiry Pargas said, “[Tablet PCs] preceded mobile phones and we developed many pieces of software for these tablet PCs. But tablet PCs never really caught on, and then mobile devices came along, the iPhone, Android phones, iPads, Android tablets came along and completely overwhelmed the tablet PCs.” While the technology has changed, the Creative Inquiry’s goal remains steadfast: developing software and apps for the betterment of Clemson University.
Forming two Creative Inquiry projects nearly four years ago, Pargas aimed to create a collaborative environment focused on producing an app ready to enter the marketplace. With a strong emphasis on teamwork, Pargas encourages sharing of computer code, techniques and ideas in order to better increase the knowledge of everyone on the team. The Creative Inquiry projects allow students with variable experience to find the team right for them and gain experience developing for both iOS and Android devices. The Apps ‘R Us Creative Inquiry is geared towards those with little development experience. During the first two semesters, students learn the basics of Android development and learn many of the techniques necessary for app development. The second Creative Inquiry under Pargas’s leadership is a more intensive app development Creative Inquiry, Enhancing Campus Activities with Mobile Devices, that allows students with development experience to dive into both iOS and Android systems. In the first semester, students are exposed to Android development and work towards developing an app at the end of the semester. The following semester, students explore iOS development and aim to produce another app suitable for further development.
At the end of each semester, student app projects are featured in a showcase. Several of the apps end up in the iOS App Store and Android Marketplace. For students in the Creative Inquiry, the mark of success is the ability to see the app development process from beginning to end. For Pargas, the success comes in giving students the tools and mindset to continue developing and look forward in the technology revolution.