Students help sick kids with app

Game Development students create app for IWK Emergency Department

Students help sick kids with app

Jarad Nichols and Jason Crow display the iCare Adventure app in the Mac Lab at the NSCC Truro Campus.

“I’d been unsuccessful finding students with the skills I required at other places. Jason and Jarad had the right mix of technical skills and practical experience to be effective members of the team." ~ Andrew Wilcox, president of EverAge Consulting

Fast Fact

In 2014, more than 29,000 visits were made to the Children’s Emergency Department at the IWK.

Andrew Wilcox, president of EverAge Consulting explains the iCare Adventure app.

How do you get a five-year-old to tell you where it hurts when they’re sick; to sit still while a triage nurse examines them; and to understand what’s going on when they have to visit the Children’s Emergency Department at the IWK?

If you’re Game Development students Jason Crow and Jarad Nichols, the answer’s simple: give them an iPad equipped with iCare Adventure.

“It’s a game that helps nurses figure out what might be wrong with kids,” says Jarad of the game he and Jason helped develop during a co-op placement with EverAge Consulting. “It also keeps them occupied so they don’t get bored during their wait.”

“iCare Adventure is a therapeutic treatment covertly hidden within an iPad app,” says Andrew Wilcox, president of EverAge Consulting. Through the game, children visiting the IWK Children’s Emergency Department are led through a series of activities that assess symptoms, answer common questions they may have and even suggest coping mechanisms.

Far more than expected

To be selected for the co-op placement, Jason, Jarad and their classmates in the Game Development Diploma program at Truro Campus were asked to present ideas, based on what they’d learned throughout the program, on what they could bring to EverAge over the summer.

“They had the general idea about “videos” that could help teach children,” says Jason. “I was really prepared and I presented ideas about 2D videos and 3D models that showed how characters would move. They seemed really impressed.”

It is safe to say they were.

“There was a real synergy between Jarad and Jason that allowed us to accomplish far more than we had expected over the four month period,” says Andrew. “Their work was technically-advanced, creative, funny and of a high quality.”

Jared says that the placement was as much about learning as it was about drawing on existing skills. “I used pretty much everything I’d learned. Timing, movement, it all came up. Even though I was using a different program from what I was taught, I was able to draw on that skill to understand the new program.”

Jason and Jarad are now hoping to transition the experience into a career. While Jarad has his sights set on working with an animation studio here in Nova Scotia, Jason thinks that Nova Scotia’s growing game development sector is where he could make his mark.

“Gaming is my long-term goal no matter how many hurdles I have to get over,” says Jason. “I want to create games that people can enjoy.”

01/12/15

“I’d been unsuccessful finding students with the skills I required at other places. Jason and Jarad had the right mix of technical skills and practical experience to be effective members of the team." ~ Andrew Wilcox, president of EverAge Consulting

Fast Fact

In 2014, more than 29,000 visits were made to the Children’s Emergency Department at the IWK.

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