Aidan Englin, who spearheaded the creation of a scheduling app for SD83, speaks about the project during the Dec. 18 board meeting. (Alice Hucul photo)

Shuswap student creates slick new school scheduling app

App has been approved to run in a trial phase at Armstrong school for student use

Students and staff of School District 83 might soon get access to an extremely helpful scheduling system, thanks to the work of one of their more tech-savvy students.

Aidan Englin, a student at Pleasant Valley Secondary School (PVSS), has worked to developed a simple but effective scheduling app that he hopes will help streamline students’ school experience.

At the most recent school board meeting in Salmon Arm, PVSS Principal Abbas El Gazzar introduced Englin to the board. He explained that he developed the app to allow students to easily keep track of their classes, what time they start and what assignments are due. Englin also hopes to introduce features that will allow students to share notes and study tips, helping them to stay connected on common projects.

During his presentation, Englin explained he needs access to some information from the school and district, including student ID numbers, class timetables and course information. He has been working with several members of the district’s technology team to work out issues around the exchange of data and to ensure it doesn’t breach any privacy regulations.

Related: North Okanagan-Shuswap School District holds first meeting

Once these issues were laid out for the board, and Englin explained that he wouldn’t need any personal information from students that may be sensitive, the board approved the request from PVSS to transfer student timetable data from the school district server to his personal server, with some conditions.

The app will run in a contained trial at PVSS for at least one year, with a wider trial in the following year if it is successful. Parent consent must be given to obtain student information, and all data must be deleted in July of each year. Approval must also be given by the manager of information services before the trial can begin.

The app also has a student calendar, which includes such information as professional development days or information added by the individual.

In just the short time Englin has been developing the app, 273 of the 430 total PVSS students already have the app downloaded, and use it regularly according to a count of weekly unique users. He has also worked in a good number of accessibility features, including manual setup of courses for students who do not have consent to give their information, as well as text-to-speech for use by visually impaired students.

The board was very impressed with Englin’s app, especially the fact it will be free for students to use.

“All that work, that is amazing; I would be prepared to pay money for it, honestly” commented vice-chair Quentin Bruns.

PVSS Principal Abbas El Gazzar commented that in fairness to Aidan, if the app turns out to be beneficial and helpful to students, after the pilot project they will have to see what the next steps might be in terms of compensation or school credit.


 

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