MONROE, Conn. — A new AP course at Masuk High School in Monroe will teach a high-tech — and potentially profitable — skill: How to make apps for cellphones and tablets.
“If they come up with a new idea for an app, they can market it on the Google Play Store. The students have ownership of what they make,” said William McDonough, who will be teaching the new course.
The course, called Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles, is the first AP course the College Board has approved to be taught without a textbook.
Masuk High School is now developing the curriculum for the course.
“We are doing a year’s worth of planning for the course so we can kick it off in September of 2017,” said McDonough, who currently teaches computer science, robotics, video game design and programming at Masuk.
Students can register for the new AP course in late January. It’s open to students in Grades 10 to 12 who have successfully completed geometry.
“The class is unique to AP,” he said.
It has an online textbook that is in print form. “But it’s not a traditional textbook,” McDonough said. “We will use video clips, journal articles, research projects and hands-on exercises to teach the course.
“It’s a true multimedia catalog of things that you have to go through to teach the class," he said.
Masuk Principal Joseph Kobza said he is excited about the new course.
“It really comes a long way to enhancing our courses in computers, which include programming, robotics and gaming,” he said.
Kobza said the course was specifically written to attract students who don’t typically take computer science courses.
“We are missing out on a huge segment of our school population who would do very well in these courses if they would just take a chance with it,” Kobza said.
To recruit these students, McDonough is speaking at science and math classes at the high school to encourage kids to take the class.
The curriculum for the course was developed through a consortium of professors at Trinity University in Texas over the last five years, McDonough said.
It went to pilot last year. 2017 will be the first year students will be able to take the AP Exam, in first two weeks of May.
According to McDonough, Milford High School, as well as a number of high schools in the Hartford area, already offer the course.
“I am thrilled we will now be offering the course here as well,” McDonough said.
He explained the way the course will be structured. “For the new course, we use an interface that makes it easier for students to create their apps and ideas without having to learn to code them line by line,” he said.
Currently, Masuk High School is planning to enroll 20 students in the course, but if more than that number enroll, accommodations will be made, according to McDonough. He is the only Masuk High School teacher who is certified to teach the course.