Building Apps and Winning Contests

Middle school teacher Mark Burpee details a new program focused on building iOS apps, showcases some student work and congratulates the recent winners of MobileMakersEdu Build Your Own App Contest.

In June, ASIJ middle schoolers in the AppLab class put their final touches on the apps they had designed and built. Mason Maier, now grade 9, researched how to integrate YouTube videos into his choose-your-own-adventure game. Esther-Faith Allen (grade 9) finished the final cluster of view controllers for her “Calculator To End All Calculators.” For conveyor-belt sushi enthusiasts, Ravi Jain (grade 9) adjusted his app that keeps track of different color kaiten-zushi plates to include consumption tax in the overall bill.

Akemi Hosoya and Kara Park – Cat Study

Ninth-graders Akemi Hosoya and Kara Park researched how to incorporate an animated cat and a clock with a rain emitter that splashes digital rain particles against the outline of a window with the cat inside wagging its tail.

Sean Gardner and Hinoto Tanaka – Sodium Tracker

Eighth-graders, Sean Gardner and Hinoto Tanaka, added a conversion calculator and an alert to their app, which keeps track of daily sodium intake.

These apps represented the culmination of a new semester-long class in which students learned to use the XCode software development environment with Swift programming language to create iOS apps.  Most students started with very little programming experience; however, through collaboration, perseverance and a curriculum based on MobileMakersEdu, they learned quickly.

ASIJ alumnus, John Saddington ’01, who helped the AppLab students connect to real-world programming, created a video message explaining how important it is to focus on good communication skills and to be able to clearly articulate how an app solves a particular problem. He challenged all of the AppLab students to enter their apps into the MobileMakersEdu Build Your Own App Contest. The apps were judged by professional app builders, and, in July, they recognized eleven ASIJ students as winners in the contest.

Sean Gardner and Hinoto Tanaka won first place while Kara and Akemi took second place. Esther-Faith Allen and Kayra Ozturk won top honors, and Joe Orii, Mason Maier, Ravi Jain, Koei Nakamura and Oliver Raffone won honorable mentions. Visit the MobileMakersEdu blog to see the apps and hear the students explain how they work.