Click on the photos for more information
Submitted by: Daryl Hepting
Professor, Computer Science Department
Even with short notice, our App Inventor Hack Day was a success. Having time out of school, with good pizza for lunch, definitely put the event on a good footing for students. But then they also learned a lot and had a great time doing it. Participants came from LeBoldus High School and the Regina Huda School.
Only some of the young women have studied Computer Science at their high schools, but all were able to have success with the App Inventor tool. We worked on 3 applications (pictured here as seen in the emulator; we had some actual Android devices to work with during the event) during our time:
- CrystalBall: used the accelerometer to detect shaking (to indicate that a question had been asked) and then picked a random answer to display (sorry, the crystal ball is not actually all-knowing).
- PaintPot: draw points of different sizes and colours, as well as lines, by touching or dragging a finger on the screen. Not shown here is that the camera can be used to take a picture that can then be “enhanced” with some colourful doodles.
- MoleMash: a game that moves the mole around the screen and tracks how many times it is touched (vibrating each time and keeping score).
. . . .and we even had time to visit Computer Science professor David Gerhard’s 207 Project Demo Day.
As the day progressed, the examples included more advanced concepts – while remaining accessible. A nice feature of the App Inventor platform is that it uses the programmer’s Google account to store all the code (pictured, CrystalBall – Designer and Blocks Editor), so all the work done at the lab can be carried on anywhere else with an internet connection. The emulator is the only bit of software that needs to be installed on the computer. As you can tell, it is easy to go from design of an interface, to assembling blocks that perform the actions specified on the interface, and creating a final application that can reside on an Android device, just like any other. That control of technology is very powerful and it is available through computer science.
The deadline for teams of 4-5 girls to register for the Technovation Challenge 2013 (February-April) is December 15. This is a great opportunity to do some exciting computer science, but also be exposed to business planning and public speaking. We are working to get all the pieces in place to support all interested teams. For example, we’re looking at running other “Hack Day” sessions to get other groups up to speed.
Questions? Please send me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Technovation Challenge registration link:
Below is video of the winning entry from the 2012 Technovation Challenge, notice the emulator that they show. The theme this year: community-oriented apps.