Davenport students build early literacy app with Kent District Library

Davenport students build early literacy app with Kent District Library

Four Davenport University students put their minds together earlier this year to create a mobile application for the Kent District Library in Grand Rapids.

The students, who were majors in the Computer Information Systems program, were enrolled in an independent study with DU faculty member Brian Kowalczk.

“These students took advantage of this awesome opportunity,” Kowalczk said. “They simulated real-life experiences by treating this as an IT project, where they met with the stakeholders, gleaned feedback and invited KDL staff to beta test their app.”

The app includes coloring books to download and print, talking picture books and a list of events at the KDL library branches.

“KDL was very engaging,” Kowalczk said. “We do a lot of these projects. They didn’t just drop it off and ask when it would be completed. They were there every step of the way, offering suggestions and comments to the students. They understood it was a learning experience for the students and incorporated that into their interactions with the students.”

The project brought classroom learning to life. The students planned development cycles, tested new additions and managed issues. They also learned best practices on how to communicate with clients effectively.

“The group complemented each other very well. We had a fairly diverse team. The students tapped into all of the group’s talents and created a design document to accompany the application, which weighed in at around 60 pages,” Kowalczk said.

The students worked with Michelle Boisvenue-Fox, director of innovation and user experience, who assembled the KDL team that collaborated with them on this project.

“We were very impressed with the students,” said Boisvenue-Fox. “They worked hard to present a professional image. They always asked in-depth and engaging questions. They knew what they were talking about.”

The early literacy mobile app has been transitioned over to KDL and will eventually be on Google Play and the Apple Store.

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