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App Building–for Teachers!

Posted by on December 7, 2013

tangrem chessApp building is hot right now. Not only are entrepreneurs picking it as their business-of-choice, but schools are using it to entice students into IT classes. Build an app! Easy!

Well, I’ve never done that, so when Justin Holladay over at Teacher Created Apps reached out to me and suggested he could write this article, I was interested. I looked at an app he created called Tangram Chess It’s a game that combines two of the most ancient games in the world – Chess & Tangram. By combining both, “Tangram Chess” becomes one of the most interesting and challenging games that you can enjoy for hours at a time. Every game of Tangram Chess has its own story. Some are long-drawn out strategic affairs; others, quick but complicated tactical battles. The winner is the player who can out-think his or her opponent, and make the best plans for attack and defense. The aim of the game is to move pieces across the gameboard and reassemble your tangram in the opposing teams square “home base” on the other side using translations (slides), rotations (turns) and reflections (flips).

This is just the kind of app I like–original, makes students think, and the chess connection is always a plus. I asked Justin to share his experiences on how he builds apps while carrying on a teaching career. Here’s his story:

I am a teacher. I believe that teachers who interact with students everyday have wonderfully creative ways to connect with, entertain, and promote learning for their classes. I am also a strong believer in technology and the dynamic part it plays in the lives of our youth. With one-to-one and BYOD initiatives sweeping our ever-shrinking world, I see a gigantic need for mobile applications that come from teachers, rather than from programmers.

So you may be saying to yourself, “I’m not a ‘techie’…I don’t have the time…I wouldn’t even know how to begin creating a mobile app for students.”

Guess what? I’m NOT a “techie” either…and you don’t need to be. Just like many of you, I work full-time, and I am the father of 5 young children. Believe me when I say, if I can do it, you can do it. And the best part is, I will show you how to get started! Not only that, but in Teacher Created Apps, you will learn how to march your great idea from conception all the way to implementation AND how to market your app to even generate additional revenue streams for yourself.

Within the course of one school year, I have successfully created seven (7) educational iOS applications that students can use right on their iPad! After tons of positive feedback from cohorts and statements like, “Gee, I wish I could do that,” I decided that teachers are not only an under-tapped resource for quality educational mobile applications; we are THE resource for quality applications. We know what works for our students better than any programmer.

And creating an awesome educational app is only the first step! My website will contain a community of like-minded teachers sharing great ideas and helping each other succeed. Get front-line feedback on things like applicability, features that are superior or need improvement, and the user friendliness of your app concept. This will result in a knowledgeable testing ground for ideas so they can have high marketability and substantial revenue generating ability to hit the ground running in public domains.

I will teach you, step-by-step, everything you need to start building your educational app portfolio. Created by teachers for teachers, Teacher Created Apps is perfect for those in the idea-phase as well as those who have apps already in production. No need to learn complicated coding or use platforms that are limited. Teacher Created Apps walks you through setting up everything you need, including how to successfully outsource your app development (hiring the right “techie”) and building your own portfolio.

Join me and let’s get your idea off the ground!

Justin is a Math Teacher and now iOS Game designer (, As an iOS game designer, Justin pursues his passion of supporting teachers in effective teaching and integration of math games into their daily lessons. When Justin is not in the classroom sharing his math apps or collaborating with teachers on new ways to implement best practices using the iPad, he is developing and designing new math games to be utilized in the classroom.

Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor of a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and training in how to integrate technology in education including ebooks, webinars and online classes. She is webmaster for six blogs, CSG Master Teacher, an Amazon Vine Voice reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, CSTA reviewer, a columnist for, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out to publishers next summer.

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