Innovation Lab Spring 2014 – Team Reflections

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This session, the Innovation Lab designed and developed three apps! In collaboration with Youth Radio’s newsroom, the team produced two news apps that invite the public to interact with our data-driven journalism. Lead by our developer Lo Benichou, the team used HTML, CSS and Javascript to develop:

1. The Double Charged App: Behind the Numbers app, which highlights the hidden costs of juvenile incarceration, and

2. Toxic Candy (coming soon!), which tests your knowledge of which candies include harmful traces of lead.

The third app created by the Innovation Lab this session uses App Inventor, a block-based coding system created by our MIT collaborators that makes it possible for novice programmers to build mobile apps from scratch. The team built a functional prototype of Youth Radio’s first official mobile app, which will allow users to listen and respond to stories from our archives, sharing their own photos, narratives, and poll answers. In collaboration with MIT’s Media Lab, the team even got to help come up with new components that will make App Inventor an even more robust tool for its two million-plus users.

The apps are cool, but the young people who worked on them are amazing! Meet the team, and learn about their challenges and accomplishments this session.

Christina So Christina So “I learned about bootstrap, which actually turned out to be extremely useful, and improved my JavaScript skills. I was introduced to the basics of jQuery and worked on two fun projects, Fines and Fees and Toxic Candy. I’m happy that we got to work more with photoshop to design the look and feel for the two webpages.”
Senay Alkebulan Senay Alkebulan “This session went quite well. I worked on the youth radio app, which went well. I primarily contributed visual design elements.I learned a ton form Lo’s coding exercises. I’d like to continue my css and html until mastery. I look forward to traveling to MIT to present our app at the App Inventor Summit. This session was overall great and the next one may even be better with more and more to learn.”  
Joy White Joy White “This session Steven, Shyra, Christina, and I worked on a web application called Toxic Candy. Building this app, I became more familiar with JavaScript as well as HTML and CSS. Additionally, both my problem solving skills and my photoshop skills have developed over this session.”
Steven Monroy Steven Monroy “This session, I learned many new things, such as HTML and CSS. Learning these things was very challenging because I had absolutely no experience, so I just dived in. I know that I still have a lot to learn when it comes to HTML and CSS but I’m sure that after another session I’ll get better. I also worked in the Toxic Candy App, leading in the design and graphics.”
Kayla Garrett Kayla Garrett  “This session I got a ton of work done. I worked on the Youth Radio App, which was very challenging. When I began coding on App Inventor, I thought that it was very easy and would be done quickly. However, over time coding began to get very frustrating, with design changes, unnecessary screens and broken code. I think at this point I need to review everything I need to know for our presentation at the App Inventor Summit at MIT in Cambridge.  For next session, I need to finish this app and get further into finishing my personal website.”


 Alvaro Magdaleno  Alvaro Magdaleno “In this session as an Innovation Lab intern, I learned more HTML and CSS. I learned how to use bootstrap to make the web app Fines and Fees responsive. I worked on the web app Fines and Fees this session, which was a great challenge because I had to learn CSS  and bootstrap quickly to meet our deadline.”
Shyra Gums  Shyra Gums “This session has been very challenging, but beneficial. After learning the fundamentals of HTML and CSS coding, I realized that I have to continue to practice. The time I have spent away from coding was focused more on photoshop. I began to notice that I can comprehend the fundamentals of photoshop design better and reflect that in my work. I hope to receive more hands-on training with coding so I can feel as comfortable with it as with photoshop.”
Skylar Bryant   Skylar Bryant “Working in the Innovation Lab over this past session has been an eye opening experience. Most importantly I’ve leaned a lot about project-based work, user experience design, and HTML/CSS coding. One challenge I faced was learning code from scratch! Having to learn code and immediately start teaching it was difficult, however, I am looking forward to another great session!”
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