What do app designs, artificial intelligence, and teamwork have in common? One thing – Sherwood Christian Academy’s Introduction to Digital Technology class.
Ninth-grade students in Mrs. Vicki Davis’ Introduction to Digital Technology class designed an app about digital ethics and safety as it relates to artificial intelligence using the Figma web and app design tool.
Designed like a business project, the app project was peer-led with students taking various roles such as project manager, researcher, production manager, and graphic designers.
Freshman Kyra Bevel, project manager of the app design project, put her leadership skills to the test as she took the lead on the app this semester.
“One skill that I learned while working on this project was a leadership technique,” said Kyra. “I learned that when you lead, you must encourage others. When people think they are unimportant, they don’t feel like they are needed, so they don’t feel the need to work and contribute to a bigger cause. Being a leader requires many qualities, but the most important one is encouragement.”
Project Assistant Manager Olivia Keith contributed to the app this semester by writing copy, providing graphic design and videography, editing, and extending positive advice when deemed necessary. Her education went beyond design and the project — she learned more about operating as a team.
“By collaborating as a team to successfully achieve the final app through Figma, I grasped the true meaning of effective communication,” said Olivia. “Being up-front about work, specific tasks, and skill sets were vital to the progression of this project. Ensuring each individual person worked on their task and were able to execute their expected job was honestly the main struggle. Engaging those in a work-stimulated environment could discourage some, however, providing support for those in need was prioritized for the benefit of us all as a whole.”
The students’ hard work paid off and design professionals took notice. Adobe-owned Figma employees discovered the project when SCA Teacher and Instructional Technology Director Mrs. Vicki Davis (@coolcatteacher on Twitter) tweeted about the students using the design tool to create their app. The Figma representatives scheduled a time to Zoom with the class and the students professionally presented their apps, shared their workflow, and provided feedback on Figma’s design tool with company employees on February 13.
This was more than just an assignment for some students. Brody Brown, project manager for the fall semester class and icon designer, said the project showed him three things about himself.
“This project lit a passion for graphic design in me,” said Brody. “I learned how to manage my time and better communicate with others.”
In addition to writing about artificial intelligence, they are using the artificial intelligence built into ChatGPT from Open.ai to write portions of the app as they do their research. All of the uses of ChatGPT are clearly cited in their app and quoted as a source and it is helping students more effectively understand artificial intelligence. While many are openly criticizing the use of tools like ChatGPT, this class is learning how to ethically use AI as a research partner in creating content.
Designing the app became more than a class project — it was a lesson in leadership, communication, professionalism, and refining the skills that God has placed in each of these ninth grade students.
The students have released their prototype for viewing by the public: https://www.figma.com/community/file/1206980462904020147
The Zoom call will also be posted on the school’s YouTube page.