Teaching through technology

Name: John Franklin Jr.
Major: Computer science
Minor: Electrical and computer engineering
Year: Junior
Hometown: Gary, Indiana

His mobile development: John is developing an Android mobile application that will help elementary school students improve their literacy outside of the classroom. It will use a 4G network and Android speech-recognition software to test students’ skills in spelling, punctuation and recognition of sentences and words. A graduated achievement system, telling students if they have gotten the question right or wrong, will help motivate students.

How it will work: Teachers will download classroom lessons that students and/or their parents can access via an Android application, thereby extending the educational experience to the mobile world. John is working with Tim Korb, assistant department head of computer science, on connecting with teachers.

John's inspiration: He is inspired to build hope and motivation in students who may feel no hope in their ability to learn. “It is fundamental that certain aspects or concepts be learned early to give students an opportunity to grow and develop into higher levels of education. With this application, perhaps a new hope and ability will raise the self-esteem of many students at an early age and inspire them to reach higher levels of success,” he says. For many teachers, behavioral problems in the classroom hurt their ability to teach. John believes this technology could help turn things around.

Why a mobile app: John says that in many inner-city communities, not every family owns a computer but many own cell phones. "Cell phones are ubiquitous in our world today. Many students in elementary and middle school already own them, and if they don't, their parents do."

Why he loves computer science: "I like computer science because you're creating something that can help people and that they will actually use. It's not just theory." John chose Purdue because of its excellent science and engineering programs.

Future plans: John would like to go into the software-development field and eventually own his own business.

By Kim Delker