© Star photo by Diane Crocker
Humber Elementary student Mitchell Allen frames up a view of the arts and culture centre on an iPad before taking a picture of the building on Wednesday. The picture will be used in the Humber Hold app.
CORNER BROOK About 75 Humber Elementary students spent Wednesday morning walking around and discovering their city.
The students, in Grades 3, 5 and 6, took pictures of some points of interest and even chatted with some visitors from a cruise ship docked at the local port.
“We’re making an app for people that come to visit,” said Grade 6 student Mitchell Allen while taking pictures on University Drive. “To show the people what’s a good place to eat or where to go.”
The Humber Hold app is all part of a larger project of the same name that the school has undertaken in response to a call for proposals from the Department of Innovation, Business and Rural Development.
Teacher Terry Pike, Grade 6, is one of the project organizers. She said the call for proposals specified that the projects had to involve some kind of innovative technology or science.
The idea behind the app came about as a way to expose the students to some careers they might not see living here. She said apps don’t just have to be created in California or Vancouver. “We can build apps here in Newfoundland.”
Another component of the projects was that they had to be tied into an already identified business development opportunity in the region or community.
And in this case, Pike said, the goal is to promote the tourism industry in the Bay of Islands and Corner Brook.
The proposal was submitted in January and in May the school learned it would get $74,000 for the creation of its app.
In the last couple of weeks, Pike said they have been working on the photography part of the project. Before hitting the street on Wednesday all the students attended sessions with a professional photography.
The tips offered seemed to pay off as Allen described how he used some trees to frame the picture he took of the arts and culture centre.
Pike, teachers Michell Flynn, Grade 5, and Cathy Au, Grade 3, and some volunteers took the students around the city in teams to take pictures using iPads. They took pictures of everything from restaurants and shopping centres to health-care and educational facilities, the museum, city hall, public library and the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary headquarters.
“Once the weather starts getting cooler and we’ve collected all our photographs that’s when we’ll turn to the research phase of things, said Pike.
She said students will use things like Google Maps, Google Street View, phone books and websites to find information to put into the app with the pictures.
“So as a result of their work they’ll have done the research for the visitor.” Pike said when the visitor uses the app they’ll be able to access information about each location and even link to individual websites. “All because the children will have found it for them,” she said.
Once all the information is gathered in the app, Pike said the next step will be to publish it. That will likely take place in early December.
Pike said the timing is so that the app will be ready when the Corner Brook Port Corporation heads off to a cruise ship trade show in January. She said the port corporation will be taking the app with them and using it in promotion of the port and the city.
“The children are really helping to grow tourism in the Bay of Islands and in a lot of ways they’re becoming young ambassadors themselves,” said Pike.
“They’re on a really big search for information about their own community to help other people when they come to visit to enjoy Corner Brook, too.”
The app will be available for free on both Apple iOS and Android devices.