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How to be as App Savvy as a Sixth Grader

Thomas Suarez created the Bustin Jieber app for iPhones and iPads to learn how to develop apps. Photo from
Thomas Suarez created the Bustin Jieber app for iPhones and iPads to learn how to develop apps. Photo from

Are you as “app-savvy” as a sixth grader, specifically Thomas Suarez the middle schooler who created the anti-Justin Bieber game Bustin Jieber? Apparently he developed the game himself because he couldn’t find teachers with the programming skills to teach him how. (He went on to give a Tedx conference talk on it!)

If you fit under the “don’t know anything about teaching how to program apps category,” take heart. There are platforms that allow non-technical people and technical people who don’t have the programming expertise to create apps for free or a nominal fee.

One of them is is a free app builder for Apple and Android devices. One of its best features is its tutorials that teach the concepts behind the application creation process. You and your students will learn what SDKs (Software Developer Kits), plugins and menus are. (These are technical terms connected to the app creation process.)

There are also quizzes that test your knowledge for which you can earn points and stars.

The other likeable feature is that similar to the dashboard of blogging software, it has a fairly easy to use control panel that helps you organize what your app menus and screen will look like. Once you configure those, Buzztouch generates the code for you. Why don’t you give it a try?

Another app building site to try out is It does cost $29 a month. Where scrimps on the “how-tos” that provides, it offers hundreds of templates to build your app around. You choose the template, send in the content and creative work and the company creates the site for you.

The site primarily focuses on iPhone apps. But it advertises Android app development too. Try out now!

Developing apps is not a trivial exercise of course. It taps into students’ higher order thinking and analytical skills. It requires creativity, organizational skills and literacy. Most of all, it nurtures technical proficiency. Since mobile media managers and app developers are currently high in demand careers and will remain so in the near future, you are preparing your students to be viable members of the workforce.

Give these app building programs a try and let us know what you have created. We would like to do a follow up and profile your creations. And for more on app builders, check out this article from Read Write Web on13 Tools for Building Your Own iPhone App.