Transforming the Learning Process by Making an App with Project Siena

Continuing the theme of trying new tools and apps in the classroom in this new year, Matthew Jorgensen has prepared another set of tips and a new tool to try out in your class; Project Siena.

It has been just over a year into my admission into the Microsoft extended family, and I am STILL discovering new stuff that can make a difference for me as a teacher, as well as my students, and transform the learning process. It seems that there is an endless supply of apps, sites, tools and gear that can help me do my various jobs around the school and allow my students to learn valuable things or how to do things better.

I feel that my main goals as a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, Master Trainer and Teacher Ambassador are to make teachers aware of the scope of Microsoft products available and how to use them to make life better. I have my favourites that I know will deliver, but there are also some great tools that are undergoing big changes and new goodies on the horizon. It can be a little difficult at times to keep up with every tool that is released from the various different groups in Microsoft so that is why I am highlighting Project Siena, which allows your students to make an app! You’re welcome …

Project Siena is a breakthrough technology that enables your business experts, analysts, and imagineers to create transformative business apps. With Siena, they can now build custom apps with rich visuals, filled with custom intelligence and functionality, with no programming skills required.

I know that I am transforming the learning process by making an app with Project Siena. Not only will the app creation process help students understand and remember information about a topic, they have to analyse the information to make a discerning decision about what is included in the app content. They then apply their new knowledge of the topic, as well as the software, to create a standalone, multimedia app. Throw in a culminating activity of self and peer evaluation, and you have addressed all levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy, and several Digital Technologies elaborations and ICT General Capabilities:

Years 5 and 6 / Digital Technologies Processes and Production Skills / ACTDIP018

Design a user interface for a digital system

  • applying the principles and elements of design to a set of requirements in order to produce a user interface for a system that addresses an identified need

Years 7 and 8 / Digital Technologies Processes and Production Skills / ACTDIP025

Acquire data from a range of sources and evaluate authenticity, accuracy and timeliness

  • acquiring data from a range of sources

Years 9 and 10 / Digital Technologies Processes and Production Skills / ACTDIP036

Develop techniques for acquiring, storing and validating quantitative and qualitative data from a range of sources, considering privacy and security requirements

  • extracting specific data from an external source and storing it in a format that is more useful for analysis

ICT General Capabilities

Years 7 and 8 | Digital Technologies | Digital Technologies Processes and Production Skills

Implement and modify programs with user interfaces involving branching, iteration and functions in a general-purpose programming language

  • creating digital solutions that provide user navigation and prompts with controlled repetitions

siena 1

Project Siena is an app maker. It surfaces data from an Excel spreadsheet, amongst many other sources, and renders the selected URLs into images and video. The drag and drop editor enables students to make simple yet powerful interactive apps that can be uploaded to the Windows app Store. The app itself is accessed via the Windows Store and works on Windows 8.1 and Windows 10, and you can find some great tutorials in the website here. I recommend it as a really simple but powerful way for your students to be creative and access data from a table and other various sources like Twitter and YouTube.

I have created an Office Mix to explain how to create a very basic app that has its data stored in a spreadsheet. Click on the image below to access the tutorial.

siena tute