During the first term of Year 10, students were asked to make an educational app for Android phones in their computer technology (CT) class at Beijing World Youth Academy (BWYA). Each student went through a process of investigate, design, plan, create and evaluate. Students searched for what kind of educational app they wanted to make, designed it, planned how to distribute their work over the weeks, carried out the plan and finally, evaluated how well they did on each stage.
The students used the MIT App Inventor online at http://appinventor.mit.edu/ which, like the program Scratch, enabled screen set-up and the organization of all the functions of the app such as sound effects, images, and animation. When the app was ready, the app was “packaged,” which means it could be opened by scanning its QR code using an android phone.
Francesco Grillo, a grade 10 student, explains, “My app is a chemistry educational app and what it does is simulating chemical reactions and exploring the nature of objects in general. In making this app, I myself learned how chemistry really worked and I hope it’ll be useful for some people. I will upload it on the Google market when I enhance it to a better version.”
Jimmy Lin, another grade 10 student who takes computer technology class, says, “My app is called the MYP Literary Key Terms which has a list of vocabulary with detailed definitions and it’s specially targeted toward students who are in MYP. Personally, I felt that the MIT App Inventor was simple to use and with the guidance of online tutorials, I was able to successfully accomplish the unit. It isn’t out on the market for people to use but I distributed it to many of my targeted users by using QR Code Download Links.”
Brandon Kim, a grade 10 student taking computer technology class also opened up about his app, saying, “My app is both educational and fun. It’s called ‘Fruit Tracker’ and it aims to teach kids how to read or write the names of common fruits. The player has to type the correct spelling of the fruit that is shown on the screen and he/she has to write out as many correct fruit names in 1 minute. It’s not out on the market but I enjoy playing it myself.”
Other apps included teaching Chinese, original stories for users to read and numerous others that explored in diverse subjects. The students just finished creating the apps and for many, it was an enlightening and fun unit. For their next unit, the BWYA CT will create a speaker!
Lauren You (Jung Won) is half Korean and half Chinese, and is currently in grade 10 at Beijing World Youth Academy. Previously, she attended a Korean kindergarten, then a Chinese school in Korea, and later went abroad to Malaysia to study English at a local school and then in a British international school. Her experience of studying in diverse environments allows her to explore the horizon. Lauren enjoys reading and writing and she actively writes articles for her school’s magazine as well as for her school’s newspaper.
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Photo by Lauren You