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Creative ideas lead to designer app

21 May 2014

An app is making it easier for staff and students of the ideaschool at the Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT) to communicate, collaborate and connect.

The app was developed by Hawke’s Bay company snApp Mobile, and funded with a grant from EIT’s teaching and learning innovation committee. Features include maps of the Hawke’s Bay campus and buildings, a list of contacts, a late line connection and links to useful information.

Staff can also post news items and notifications of upcoming deadlines. The app will be linked to a new ideaschool website being launched later this year.

The app is the brainchild of Steve Butler, a graduate of ideaschool’s Diploma of Visual Arts and Design, and Design Director of snApp Mobile.

The app is a truly collaborative effort, with collaboration between snApp Mobile and the ideaschool team of lecturers Anthony Chiappin (graphic design), Jerry Gull (typographics) and Dean Moroney (audio visual design).

“The design and development process was a neat experience with everyone throwing creative ideas into the mix,” Steve Butler says. “That resulted in a unique application, attuned to ideaschool’s culture and branding.

“We even built an ‘idea pad’ for creatives to doodle using the ideaschool colour palette. They can then share their efforts via Facebook, Twitter, SMS and email.”

snApp Mobile is a company established by Butler and Joshua Woodham just 18 months ago. It now has a staff of nine, including a third partner, Mark Dekker, who completed his Diploma in Marketing at EIT before working in Europe developing apps for the past nine years. Two EIT students are interns at the company, and Butler says they are looking forward to helping them further develop careers in design and app development.

Working with educators is becoming a focus for snApp Mobile, who also design applications for small businesses. They have developed apps for 17 New Zealand schools, and are currently working on apps for two United Kingdom schools.

The app developed for Christchurch Girls’ High School went to number one for New Zealand education apps in the iTunes store just two days after its launch.

“With the growing workload in mind we expect our business will treble in the next 12 months,” Butler says.

The app takes ideaschool to the forefront of latest developments for mobile devices, says Chris Verburg, Assistant Head of School.

“By hooking into a server, staff can self-feed information, change contact details on the app and send out alerts to specific recipients. It works on iPhones and androids and it’s instant, which makes it perfect for our purposes.”

Verburg also acknowledges the achievement from the ideaschool’s point of view.

“There’s nothing more satisfying than for one of our graduates to develop a tool that moves ideaschool forward.”

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