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Lake Hamilton and Dardanelle high school students are doing their part to ensure there is truth to the adage "There's an app for that."

At Thursday's fourth annual Apps for Good Festival in North Little Rock, student teams from the two schools displayed their computer science class projects -- app prototypes -- that when fully developed will help a mobile phone user respond to weather, learn a sport, change a tire, fund-raise for an international cause or talk out bullying problems with a counselor.

An app, or application, is computer software that is typically bought from an online app store.

The festival at the Regional Innovation Hub was organized by the Coding Arkansas' Future initiative at the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts in Hot Springs. Coding Arkansas' Future provides training to computer science teachers in different parts of the state.

The initiative brought the United Kingdom-based Apps for Good education program that pairs technology and charity to showcase the work of the Arkansas computer science teachers and their students.

Moeed Amjad, a ninth-grader at Lake Hamilton High, said his proposed FYI app is intended to help Internet users avoid low signals, dead spots and video buffering when it comes to Internet connections.

"We're all gamers and we all use the Internet," Moeed said about his motivation for designing the app, "but when you are playing competitively and your Internet is lagging out, that's not good because you can't play to your fullest and you can't experience the best game."

The FYI solution would allow the app user to find the best Internet connection.

"You would run a speed test, and then it would show you the numbers -- the upload and download speeds, and then it would show what zones in your area is the best zone," he said.

The app would give users a few tips about Internet use, as well.

"Like move your router out of the little cupboard that you stuck it in and out from behind the TV and radios," Moeed said. "And don't keep it near a microwave."

Dakota Wharton and Allie Batchelor, also students at Lake Hamilton, identified obesity as a problem that can be resolved with getting adequate sleep, healthy eating, physical workouts, a routine schedule and an app.

Their "Get Fit" app -- which would enable a user to schedule and track sleep, meals, workouts and personal weight -- was not only exhibited at Thursday's festival but earlier was a Congressional App Challenge finalist in Arkansas' 4th Congressional District.

Kylie Ashcraft, a senior at Dardanelle High, and her classmates Idaly Nava and Ali Ramirez were also participants in Thursday's festival.

"We figured out that managing money is a really difficult task for young adults so we decided to go with that because it has a larger reach in our community," Ashcraft said. "Our app was built to help them to build a budget, manage money better and how to spend less."

The prototype app enables users to connect with their own bank accounts so they can see and track their purchase expenses, payment due dates and available credit. There's also a tip screen with a list of websites that offer advice on budgeting.

The Budgeting Made Easy app screen can be customized so that it has an element of fun to it, Nava said, while enabling the user to develop budgeting practices that will lead to an improved credit score.

"I'm amazed every year that 14-, 15-, 16-year-olds are thinking like this," Steve Rice, entrepreneurship instructor at the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts, said about the exhibited apps. Rice works under the Coding Arkansas' Future umbrella at the Hot Springs school to meld computer science with creating business ventures.

Metro on 04/19/2019

Print Headline: Students at two schools develop prototype apps

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