Just a few moments ago an article came across my twitter feed via mashable.com.
New App Bridges Communication Gap Between Devs and Small Biz – on.mash.to/Nh6R4z
— Pete Cashmore (@mashable) June 13, 2012
It piqued my interested because it highlights a problem both schools and small businesses face, which is not simply building apps.
It has to do with solving problems.
Software developers and designers are intellectual engineers. They frame ideas and experiences in terms of usable interactions with technology. They take an idea, establish a user experience, build the experience, test said experience, and deploy the experience in a way that users can access frequently.
In 2012, these apps must interconnect with services users are used to, as well as playing to expectations of gestures, past experience with software, design aesthetics and emotions. The business has the idea, the developers make that an idea a reality (and typically improve the idea through the process).
In this article, Christine Erickson describes the company Trigizzi‘s efforts to build a mobile app ecosystem that is completely visual. These have existed before, but the article highlights the role that small businesses might play in developing their own working prototypes that can then be build upon by hired developers (lets face it, some things just need to be built by engineers).
So that got me thinking.
What if the Disruption Department served as the mediator between app developers and teachers/students/community members?
Of course, there could be some apps that came from this, which has been an often described experience that we should be exposing our students to. Not only because it prepares many of them to exist in a coding environment or to understand the nuances of software development directly, but also because it would expose them to the collaborative process and project development. They could help us build apps for sure that make our lives easier, help us better interact with families, or provide deeper learning for students. Just to name a few.
But I could think of another idea. If software developers are intellectual engineers, what if we employed software engineers to help us solve problems?
The cost would be low, because there would be little actual coding work done in these circumstances. But we would pay them, because their expertise deserves compensation.
Furthermore, it would allow for the complete cycle of project development to come to fruition between teachers, their classes, and the devs. The devs could help model what feedback cycles look like. The devs could learn about the types of problems that exist in schools, preparing them to work with the educational community in the future. Finally, we would be not only simulating a “real world” environment of collaboration, but we would actually be having students/teachers/community members participate in it.
What kinds of problems do you think devs could help us solve?