MONACA, Pa. — You’ve done this before. You’ve walked by a grand, old building in a small town and asked yourself, “I wonder what that was?”
Well, if you’ve ever done that in Sharon, Pennsylvania, or on the campus of Penn State Shenango, ask no more. Mark Hoskinson, Daniel DeCouto and Collin Jones have already answered all of your questions. All you have to do is download their historic walking trail app to your smartphone.
The current and former Penn State Beaver students (Hoskinson graduated in December) developed the app as a service learning project last fall in instructor Amber McConahy’s information sciences and technology studio class. The idea was to generate interest in the town’s 2.2-mile urban walking trail and the 23 historic sites along its path.
The app features a map, photos and site descriptions of places such as Penn State Shenango’s Sharon Hall, which was originally built in 1865, and the Silver Street or “V” Bridge, which collapsed under the weight of floodwaters in March 1913.
Hoskinson was the team leader and main programmer for the project. It was also his first time building an app, so he did a lot of learning along the way.
“It taught me a lot about feasibility,” Hoskinson said. “There were things I wanted to do that weren’t within my ability yet.”
Which is why Hoskinson recently updated the app with the help his friend and Beaver student Tyler Suehr. Currently, the app is available for Android devices, but DeCouto and Jones are hoping to build a follow-up iPhone version in McConahy’s capstone class this semester.