Software development students’ grand designs

software design

Yr 11 students Connor Barkley, Edwin Chau and Anthony Kinal will complete their HSC coursework for Software Design and Development this year. Photo: Kitty Beale

Google’s Sydney offices provided inspiration to the Year 11 students completing an Accelerated Software Design and Development course at Patrician Brothers’ College Fairfield.

Edwin Chau, Connor Barkley, and Anthony Kinal, all aged 16, were among the students who spoke with the organisation’s Head of Network Security during the Pyrmont visit in May.

They are the first students to have elected to take the accelerated course, which will see them complete their Year 12 Higher School Certificate assessments for the subject at the end of this year.

They have studied hardware and programming basics in Year 9 and designed and built a game in Year 10 – the major project for Year 11 coursework in the subject. For Year 12 coursework they will make a professionally developed program with supporting documentation, useable for a wide audience including hearing impaired and colour blind people.

“The first thing you always have to look at whenever you’re designing something is the different social and ethical issues that could come along with it,” Connor said.

“To make your program successful, you have to focus on making it accessible to a large number of people, easy to understand, and as streamlined as possible.”

Anthony is building a fitness app to help users improve their quality of life. The app features video tutorials which demonstrate different forms of exercise for beginners, warm-ups, and a calendar to help maintain an exercise schedule.

“It’s easier for people to visualise things rather than write them down,” he said of the tutorials.

“It’s to be inclusive of the different ethnicities, people and cultures in society so it is able to reach a broader market.”

Edwin’s peers are happy to assist in the testing phase of development for his project. He is building a vertical scrolling video game in which players must dodge falling and rising blocks without touching the top or bottom of the screen.  “It’s a personal best game where you keep going until you get a high score. It’s not one of those highly technical apps.”

At Google the group were impressed by solutions its programmers had come up with to ensure their systems weren’t compromised, including a cost-effective alternative to the ‘super computer’. “It was so cool,” said Connor. He is building a word processor with added features to provide different formatting options for documents.

“The good thing about developing this is that [programming partner] Giovanni and I can add anything we want to it to help make it easier to do our own assignments,” he said

“With all of the different tools that programming language gives us it’s easy to do. We developed an algorithm which takes the data that you put in there and creates a citation for it. With all of the Physics assignments we’ve had to do lately it’s a lot less time consuming to cite sources.”

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