New RAM Newspaper Mobile App


As noted in Dr. Thumm’s February 5th announcement, the Ramsey RAM is now available as an app on student iPads. The concept, which started as a Vision 2020 project, is to show the latest headlines in an easy to read format, and leverage the native WordPress functionality the online newspaper is already built on. The app is available in Self-Service on your student iPad. It is under the English and World Language category and can also be found in the Featured section.

The app started as an enrichment project, I wanted to pursue an idea that leveraged skills developed in the RHS classroom, specifically in my computer science coursework with Mr. Schmarge, while also having a lasting benefit to the high school and its students. My idea was to create an iOS mobile app in Swift that makes it easier to access and read stories. As a four year member and three year editor on the newspaper, the idea of putting more eyes on the work of student journalists by broadening the audience of readers, delivering information where they already are, had a strong appeal. Research shows that the global number of mobile users likely surpassed that of desktop users four years ago.

Developing the app involved learning about RSS or really simple syndication, a protocol for distributing news article metadata, as well as trouble shooting and understanding the enterprise solutions’ space for academic institutions.

Similar mobile solutions, including from the school’s own newspaper support platform, would cost in excess of $800 per year. This achieves the same result, using the platform the school already uses, iPads, for less than $100 a year, the cost of an Apple developer ID. More importantly, it also paves the way for the next student who wants to take what he or she learned in mobile application development at Ramsey High and apply it to a real world problem, serving as the pioneering test case for working with the RHS Technology department to create a student Apple developer ID, work through integration with JAMF, and roll out the app. The dividends will be paid with the next student app idea, and the one after that.