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AppLab: Be There After Class

For the past three weeks, MFA Interaction Design students have come together for a student-initiated event, dubbed “AppLab.” The group’s founder, Russ Maschmeyer explains: “Everyone in this program knows something about either design, iPhone interfaces, wireframing, or programming. Skill-sharing isn’t a new idea. We’re just applying it to making apps.” With pizza and beer on hand, students are teaching each other how to create apps for the iPhone and iPad.

IXD student Gene Lu demonstrates Object-Oriented Programming using LEGOs during an AppLab event.

Gene Lu demonstrates Object-Oriented Programming using LEGOs.

On any given Thursday night, students gather to exchange knowledge on both design and programming in kind. Improvising the curriculum as they go, a few of the second-year students—most of whom are learning the process themselves—have already tackled topics such as Object-Oriented Programming, the iOS platform, as well as programming in Cocoa and Objective-C. AppLab aims to collaboratively teach the basics to each member, then each student is tasked with building on that knowledge by developing a unique app idea. If all goes according to plan, every AppLab student will have an app to submit to the App Store by semester’s end.

In only the first few weeks there’s been an outpouring of support for AppLab. O’Reilly Media donated twenty copies of Josh Clark‘s Tapworthy: Designing Great iPhone Apps. Josh also offered to visit the Lab and speak to students first-hand about their ideas. House of Legend founder and creator of the Layer Tennis iPhone app, Larry Legend, volunteered to help students develop the skills they’ll need to make their ideas happen.

–Russ Maschmeyer, Class of 2011

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