We recently published an app for Hobsonville Point Secondary School. It explores the school’s surrounding area, in particular the rich aircraft history of New Zealand’s first international airport. That’s not even the best part, though — the app was created by the school’s year 9 and 10 students. The other great thing is that the app’s proceeds go to charitable organisation KidsCan.

We had a chat to the innovative Sarah Wakeford from the school, and asked about the experience and thinking behind making the app.

What gave you the idea of making a tour app?

Glen from My Tours approached the school showing us the potential for student led learning using the app. We are always interested in authentic real world learning opportunities and I saw straight away that it could be a fantastic project for our students.

What was the thinking behind it?

My initial thoughts were really focussed on the area we live in and the important history that is found here. We are on an old airbase site, with lots of history around aircraft (this was NZ’s first international airport). As the community grows and develops, this history is being lost. I see it as our schools responsibilty to try and protect as much of the history as possible. My Tours App seemed like a fantastic tool to help us do this.

Why My Tours?

My Tours seemed very straightforward and manageable for students in Yr 9 and 10 to create. The software was easy for our kids to use, had lots of versatility and looked very professional – so our kids could do an amazing job. Glen was happy to help in all stages of the production, which put me at ease. He was always working with the kids and helping them to improve what they were doing.

It was an awesome idea to involve the students in creating the app — was organising all the different parts challenging?

Setting up the ‘accounts’ for Google and Apple was a little challenging at first – just finding the time to meet with the finance and IT expertise to set up all the accounts was a bit tricky. The actual creation of the trail was very smooth, and Kim Mi the project leader found putting the trail together very straightforward, once all the passwords and accounts were set up.

How did they find the tour content?

The students decided to keep the first project very small and managable – so they decided on 5 key sites in the Hobsonville Point area – knowing that it was better to research these sites well and do a good job, rather than spread themselves too thin. However, on reflection they could have done 10 sites, as they found the process really straightforward and there was definitely time to do more. The idea is to build on this site and increase the trail in 2016.

Did they enjoy it?

Absolutely – here are some quotes from the student reflections:

*I really liked learning about the history and then being able to do something about it. We could share the information with the community and also help raise money for KidsCan, so that felt really good. I also liked working as a team and seeing a final product at the end. The project was cool. – Kim Mi

*I really enjoyed the design stuff we did for the app – it was cool to make logos and find images and photos, choose colours and create the app – it felt like you were doing a real design project as well as a history project. – Matthew

What about production — who took all of the photos and recorded the audio?

The students collected the photos from the on-line archive sites and also took photos themselves at the different spots. Students also did all the recording themselves at our recording studio at school.

How long did it take?

Student worked on the history trail for approx 10 weeks – every Wed from 12.00 – 3.00pm. They also did promotional material, a website and other resources to promote the app and the history of Hobsonville Point.

Who had the idea to sell the app and donate the proceeds to KidsCan?

The project is part of a learning programme here at HPSS called “Big Projects” and the idea as all the projects have to contribute to a ‘big picture’ partnership or challenge, which for semester one in 2015 was raising money for KidsCan. Over 120 students were involved in enterprise projects that had to raise funds for kids living in poverty. It was a fantastic opportunity for our students to use the app to also do a positive thing for kids in need – so that was a great connection to the overall Big Project challenge.

In 2016 there will be a range of history projects and we hope to improve on the trail and add new ones 🙂

Header Image: Aeroplane assembly, Hobsonville RNZAF base, with plane in cratee. Whites Aviation Ltd :Photographs. Ref: WA-21516-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23011349

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