The mobile app aims to develop a virtual building-block experience

Under the guidance of Lehigh professor Dr. Robin HojnoskiBrittany Kuder ‘14GRLuke Zhang ’16, and Faye Sheppard ’18 are creating a mobile app that will replicate a child’s three-dimensional building block experience on a tablet or mobile device. Currently in the developmental stage of the app, the goal of the Mountaintop Project is to produce an educational app with actual empirical support to further understand a child’s developmental abilities.

Kuder, a school psychology doctoral student who works with Hojnoski, and Faye, a sophomore psychology major interested in research, are responsible for gathering the data from local preschools and childcare centers. By observing children playing with blocks and administering tasks that measure a variety of developmental abilities, such as spatial ability, short-term visual memory and receptive vocabulary, Kuder and Faye are able to ascertain which abilities are utilized when block-building. Zhang then uses this data, along with other educational principles specified by Hojnoski, Kuder and Faye, to create the app.

Through their research, the team hopes to create an app that will simulate the block-building experience in a realistic yet educational and enjoyable format. Beyond the app, Hojnoski, Kuder and Sheppard hope to use their data for a larger project that will analyze a child’s classroom experience in order to improve development and outcome.

"The whole process of getting to be able to do research, to actually carrying out the research, to then analyzing and processing the data is something I’ve never experienced but I was able to experience through this Mountaintop project," Faye said.

-Sarah Plombon '16 is a journalism student interning with the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science.


Luke Zhang ’15, Brittany Kuder ’14GR and Faye Sheppard ’18 are working to develop an app that provides a meaningful and accessible block-building experience for children. (Photo by Christa Neu/Lehigh University)