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October 21, 2020

How I created GetTime, an app to ease student stress

by Claire Luo, senior, Harker School, San Jose, California

Virtual classes. Social distancing. Stress.

Before COVID-19, stress was already a major issue for students. Recently, it’s become an even bigger problem. As a high school student, I’ve witnessed school closings and the pandemic create uncertainty among members of my community. Because of virtual schooling, there have been less opportunities to talk and interact with friends and other people. Time management in the new virtual environment has fallen more onto the shoulders of students, which has been difficult to handle for many. 

Starting out

Two years ago, even before the pandemic, I began thinking of ways to help alleviate the stress I saw all around at school. That’s where it all started — a simple idea. I wanted to create something that would be digital and more convenient for students to use than paper planners and reach a wide audience. Since I’ve used to-do list apps before, I wanted to design something similar but with more features geared toward students.  

So, I founded GetTime. For the first few months, I conducted interviews with students, counselors and parents. They provided valuable insights on the problem and gave feedback on my first prototype and wireframes of my app. My time spent researching, talking with people, designing the app and planning my business turned into year two. 

Gaining steam

Once I designed the screens, I communicated with other individuals to develop the app for release on the App Store, and Stage 2 of my journey began. With every new version of the app, I solicited feedback and sought to create something that was unique and that effectively addressed every problem shared by potential users. After surveys, interviews and testing the app with small groups of users, the app’s took the basic form it’s in now.

Meanwhile, I started preparing to market GetTime. I designed and built GetTime’s website (gettimeapp.com) and set up social media pages (@gettimeapp on Facebook and Instagram) in order to reach more people. 

I’ve been fortunate enough to get to pitch to investors through my school’s entrepreneurship class. My first pitch was at a business and entrepreneurship conference that our school hosts each year. Over the next two years, I pitched a couple more times, once to get funding to develop the first workable version of my app and later when I was closer to launching. Those were nerve-wracking, wonderful learning experiences that taught me how to present my thoughts professionally. 

Launching on the App Store

In April, I published my GetTime Productivity App on the App Store! I never expected to release my app with schools closed, but in retrospect, reducing stress has become more relevant than ever this past year.

What has been amazing to witness is that GetTime has reached people all over the world. To date, there are nearly 6,000 users in more than 70 countries.

Reflection and looking ahead

Right now I am looking to partner with educational institutions to reach more people and expand to platforms beyond the App Store. Meanwhile, I would encourage anyone who might be interested in an app to manage everyday tasks and improve productivity to take a look at GetTime on the App Store! The app is free and useful for everyone, not just students.

GetTime has enabled me to turn a desire to make an impact into something tangible, and I am excited to see where it will go next. For students out there: if you see a problem you want to tackle, I encourage you to try it! To those thinking of designing an app: the process may seem long and challenging, but if you approach it piece by piece, conducting research and asking for help along the way, it will be an absolutely fantastic experience!

Want to learn more about the power of invention and the ways students’ ideas can change lives? Check out our lesson series on Invention Education, including the following lessons on app development:

Lesson plan: Invent an app that helps your community

Invent Apps That Help Others and Build Empathy

 


Claire Luo is a senior at the Harker School in San Jose, California. She loves learning all sorts of subjects and is passionate about educational equity.

 


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