DeSales Students Create Interactive Learning App for Children

by Janelle Hill | Jul 06, 2017



DeSales students Holly Benedetto (left) and Kelsey Cicchetti show the SIEVE STEM app to students from the Red Door Early Learning Center.


Computer science students at DeSales University are inspiring young minds in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

The students, as part of their senior seminar group project, recently created a SIEVE STEM learning application for children at the Red Door Early Learning Center in Center Valley.  

“I think it's fantastic that we're introducing STEM concepts to Pre-K students,” says Dr. Patricia Riola, director of MSIS and assistant professor of computer science.

Riola’s students worked on a range of different areas – from sketching and design to audio and game development. Their game features laundry baskets with different sized balls and bands that teach young students to develop STEM skills. 

“We were delighted,” says Riola. “Our students really appreciate relevant development. They put a lot of up-front thought and a lot of research into it.” 

The students recently visited Red Door to test their product. “The children loved the game,” says Dr. Lara Goudsouzian, assistant professor of biology. “We had eight children play it; not a single one was bored or walked away or complained. They groaned when they had to stop. They were clearly super-engaged.”

Goudsouzian is on the board of Red Door and helped bring the idea to life, along with Sara Belyea, Red Door’s director of education. This isn’t the first time Goudsouzian and Riola have collaborated. Last year, Riola’s class designed 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional simulations of a cell biology laboratory for Goudsouzian’s students. 

This summer, Goudsouzian will present that cell biology lab at the Society for the Advancement of Biology Education Research’s (SABER) national meeting at the University of Minnesota. As for the learning app, phase two of the project will take place in computer science classes this fall. Drs. Riola and Goudsouzian, along with Belyea, also plan to make the app widely available so any school can download and use it. “There are so many pre-schools without resources to develop this game,” says Goudsouzian. Riola agrees, adding “it could be the start of something big.” 

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