EAST Senior Wins App Challenge


EAST Senior Wins App Challenge
3/11/2016 4:07:22 PM

Tyler Gay, a senior in the EAST program at Bentonville High School, was part of a team of three students who won the Congressional App Challenge in Arkansas’ 3rd Congressional District. The contest was hosted by U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, who presented medals to Tyler and his teammates during a ceremony Feb. 19.

The team won for its “Virtual Reality Math” app, which is designed to teach math concepts to younger students in a way that’s more fun and engaging than traditional software -- that is, by doing so in virtual reality (VR). The free app is available from Bentonville EAST through Google Play for Android devices.


Entering the app challenge was an assignment for the students’ mobile app development class. Educational programming for VR has been the basis of Tyler’s EAST projects.


“I initially got interested in VR development after being approached by my EAST Facilitator, Mr. Ben Manatt, about incorporating it into one of our current projects using the Google Cardboard SDK for Unity. Mr. Manatt also made an effort to showcase different experiences that could be created using Cardboard, which also piqued my interest,” he said, noting the accessibility of Cardboard, which can turn any smartphone into a VR viewer for very little cost.


“One thing I enjoy most about programming is the iterative process of software development,” he continued. “Getting feedback on an application and making fixes feels great because I know that my program is becoming more stable, and I can document my progress to see how far I've come.”


As for how far he’ll go, Tyler said he’s looking toward a career in the field using the skills he’s developed.

“As far as my plans for the future go, I plan on majoring in computer science and would love to get into video game development.”


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