< Back to
< Back to all News
Student Develops iPhone App to Link Youths with Homework Assistance
November 28, 2012
By Terri Hughes-Lazzell
Stumped by a math problem? Have a science question? Thanks to an
innovative Rose-Hulman student, there's now an iPhone application
that gives true meaning to Smartphone technology.
App For That: Rose-Hulman senior computer science and computer
engineering student Franklin Totten created the new AskRose iPhone
app that further enhances the college's Homework Hotline math and
science tutoring service. An interactive periodic table is one
feature of the new application.
The AskRose app links Indiana middle- and high-school students
with free homework math and science assistance, through
Hotline. Through the app, students play mathematical
games and use interactive educational resources. The app is
available at the iTunes App Store.
Franklin Totten, a senior computer science and computer
engineering student, started the AskRose app as a class project
with classmates, and completed it on his own after consulting with
Homework Hotline staff. The app became available to the public
earlier this month.
"They (Homework Hotline staff) wanted something useful and fun
that people would want to use," says Totten. "This app allows the
Homework Hotline to use current technology to reach students
The Homework Hotline started in 1991 as a toll-free telephone
service. Several online features have been added in recent years,
and the iPhone app gives students easier access to Rose-Hulman
students that are available as hotline tutors from 7 p.m. to 10
p.m. on Sunday through Thursday during the school year.
"We wanted to meet high-school students through technology that
makes them most comfortable," states Janie Szabo, the Homework
Hotline's assistant director of operations and education. "Many
students use the iPhone, and the AskRose app further enhances our
multi-media features. It allows more students to get help
understanding their math and science homework from our tutors."
Homework Hotline Director Susan Smith adds that the
application's initial goal was to connect students to the service's
website and connect with the tutors. Totten added the interactive
resources and games were added as he developed the app.
"We rely on our students to create many items for us, including
web items and computer interactive resources," says Szabo. "Our
student tutors have so many great talents."
And, Smith says development of the AskRose app gave Totten and
his classmates a real-life educational experience. Homework Hotline
staff served as references for information on the app, including
the questions for games.
"The games are math oriented because 80 percent of our calls
annually are math related," states Szabo. "We provided information.
We wanted all questions and answers based on Indiana Department of
Totten was the brainchild behind the iPhone app's interactive
periodic table. "I thought it would be good if it were
interactive," he stated. "A PDF of the periodic table was not good
enough and the information would be crunched into a small space.
So, I worked on something that would be interactive."
Totten plans further updates to "version one" of the AskRose app
throughout this school year. He is spending this winter developing
versions of the app for Android-based phones.
"It's pretty cool to have an app I worked on the iPhone," he
Supported by the Lilly Endowment, Inc., the Homework Hotline
provides toll-free math and science tutoring services by calling
1-877-ASK-ROSE (1-877-275-7673) or through the website www.AskRose.org.