TeenTech – designing a mobile app
25 September 2012, by Zoe Cunningham
When I attended TeenTech back in May, I was asked to judge the “ideas of the future” competition. The children had to think of a possible invention that might exist in 2050 and write it on to a Post-it note. These notes then formed an “ideas wall”. There were two iPods up for grabs so this was a serious competition.
Certain ideas were quite prevalent with several different but similar submissions on the same topic. Machines to record your memories, or your dreams, space age buildings and cities and clothing related apps abounded. One of the more unusual ideas was a set of “power gloves” that allow you to lift heavy objects with ease after you put them on.
Emily from City Academy won a prize for her idea “A watch which changes the clothes on your body. Athletes would be able to use when doing the Triathlon”. As part of the prize, I was asked to go along to Emily’s school and explain to them how they could go about making smart phone apps for themselves.
We talked through the stages of coming up with an idea for an application, thinking about how it would be used, designing the user interface and coding it up and deploying.
The City Academy class had come up with an idea at TeenTech for an app that could combine a photo of a man and a woman to see what a baby that they had together would look like.
Katie volunteered to draw a “storyboard” for how the app would be used and did a great job (see right).
We also talked about how to make a mobile app. I didn’t try to teach everyone Objective-C in an hour, but I had found a great website called appmakr.com that allows you to configure a mobile application without having to write the code yourself so we had a bit of fun with that.
Mostly I tried to reinforce that nowadays anything you want to do can be learnt by looking on the internet – that’s how I found the appmakr site! It’s hard to tell how much children pick up in lessons but I’m going to follow-up by helping TeenTech to produce some career pages and tweets to help children keep thinking about what they want to achieve in the future and realise just how possible it is!