iPhone Apps at New Paltz
Computer Science departments will need to light a fire under themselves in order to keep up with their students. A whole new area of software development has opened up with the advent of the iPhone© and other smart phones such as the Android phone from Google.
Taino Ryan, a recent graduate from our undergraduate program and now a graduate student in our department decided to teach himself how to program his new iPhone and came up with the following app: the app uses the People Finder function of the college website to find the location information of anyone in the campus directory.
We start with a work-flow of how the app works
Starting up the People Finder app you first choose a department. A list of employees is presented and when you select one of these you get their contact information and a further button click takes you to a Google Maps app that locates their office from a satellite view of the campus.
So that individual thumbtacks don't need to be created for each faculty member and university employee, Taino has created them for each building and uses the campus address of the faculty member to decide where to place the thumbtack on the Google maps image.
Computer Science programs across the United States have been wrestling with the problem of how to interest students in their discipline. After the dot.com bubble burst around 2000 enrollments dropped considerably in Computer Science nation-wide. Offering new courses that let students play with the integrated features of the new smart phones such as GPS, the accelerometer, Google Maps, the camera, speech recognition and transcription and so forth is a sure way to capture the interest of students and to ensure future enrollments. SUNY New Paltz will be offering just such a course – Programming the Android Phone - in the Spring 2011 semester. In the meantime, students like Taino are taking independent study courses that essentially give them college credit for what they would like to spend their time doing in any event.