Within the field of education, there has been an increased interest in developing students' 'emotional intelligence'.
My experiences in teaching both self-contained and inclusion classrooms led me to develop an app focused on group, rather than individual behavioral reflections. Conversations during conflict can produce unique and meaningful relationships and creations.
Framing conflict resolution as a conversation can help break down barriers between 'bully' and 'victim.' Students answer questions regarding mood and can view their partners responses to build understanding. After each question is completed, students can add a piece to their chimera until the creature is fully formed.
Bella: When I walked into DHF on Friday night, I didn't have a team or any idea of what the Hackathon would be like. It wasn't like I was in a completely new environment. I have been a member at DHF since 2013 and I know a lot of the people that work there. After talking with Kathleen, whom I had first met a few months before, I knew I wanted to work with her to make her idea come to life. The idea of both students contributing to reach a common goal was a very versatile concept that I knew could be interpreted and designed any number of ways.
What it does
Two students take turns answering questions where they: -identify their emotions (sad, mad confused, etc...) -choose a solution to their conflict -encourages them to work together to build something fun and overcome their differences
How I built it
Kathleen: I presented the negotiation app idea to Bella, whom I've worked with during Makerettes meetings at DHF. She has experience coding her own app Monkey's Endless Mayhem and I have a background in digital illustration.
My initial thought involved each student letting something go, like stones in a stream. Bella suggested casting spells to make a chimera, as it make the experience more engaging to the target audience.
I created all of the buttons and individual graphics for the chimera's parts in Adobe Illustrator, without any prior sketches.
Bella: I have always enjoyed programming and I wanted to be able to contribute my skills in a meaningful way, no matter the project I was working on. To make createAchimera I used Corona SDK and lua. I completely coded the application from scratch.
Challenges I ran into:
Kathleen: Initially, I hadn't factored how much time designing the buttons would take (i.e. clicked, unclicked, dimmed, home screen button versus buttons in play).
I will plan to include time for button design and more nuanced planning with UX design. Maintaining consistency in dimensions with each chimera puzzle piece was also a challenge that became easier over time.
Bella: I didn't have time or lua experience to make multiple scenes and move between them effectively, so I implemented everything on the same screen. That meant that I had to show and hide objects as needed, as well as make sure I closed all my functions, or else the application wouldn't run.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
Kathleen: Designing every piece of the app from scratch in a weekend was satisfying.
- Completely programming a working application in the time allotted.
- Working on a deadline without getting too overwhelmed.
- Collaborating as a team and combining both of our ideas into a finished project.
What I learned
Kathleen: Creating placeholder images to provide to the programmer allowed for more time to create more detailed pieces.
Bella: I got a refresher course in lua. I also practiced managing files, programming docs, Google Drive, online help forums, and a simulator at the same time.
What's next for createAchimera
Kathleen: I would be interested in building more options for question customization and expansion packs for chimera parts. Additionally, I would be interested in developing the app into a format for grades 3-5.
Bella: I want to finish it. I would have to completely rewrite it because it's definitely not as efficient or compact as it could be. It will be a lot easier to work on and add things to after that.