This is a guest blog post by Diana Knodel, AppCamps Germany
App Camps is a German non-profit that uses the MIT App Inventor to teach coding and app development in schools. Out of thousands of projects, the non-profit was selected as a finalist in the Google Impact Challenge Germany. App Camps receives 250.000 € (about 280.000 $) from Google.org to expand the program.
In a public voting an overall winner will be selected. The winner will receive another 250.000 €. It would be awesome to get support from the App Inventor community. Please vote for us here. Thank you so much!
How did it all start?
We started App Camps as a side project back in 2013. The first workshop - an App Summer Camp for girls - was a huge success. After this event we got many requests from kids, parents, teachers and schools. Doing these workshops was great fun. But we reached to few students and thus decided to change our approach: We developed a platform and digital teaching materials for teachers in German language. That way they can teach coding without us being present in person. On the platform teachers get all materials including online training in order to do coding workshops in their classrooms.
The course on App development
We are currently providing teaching material for seven App Inventor sessions. Teachers get access to short videos and learning cards that are printed out for the students. In each session, the students build their own apps. Over the course of seven sessions they learn the basics of coding and app development. In the end of the course each students has his or her own quiz app.
We also use agile development methods in the course:
- Daily Standup: Sessions always start with a stand up. Students come together to watch a short video in which the app is presented and they see some live coding.
- Pair Programming: The students do pair programming and learn how to discuss code. They are guided by learning cards and can work in their own pace.
- Review: Near the end of the session all students meet again for a review and to discuss the app and learnings.
Each session ends with a short video in which engineers explain the most important concepts of the session, for example variables, if-else, or methods. The engineers work for tech companies like Github, Adobe, Soundcloud or XING. With these videos, students have the chance to “meet” tech rolemodels and hear interesting things about Tech companies.
With this approach we were able to reach more than 1.500 students in only four months as compared to 500 students in two years. As a non-profit we want to make a social impact. Both students and teachers fill out questionnaires before and after the course. Here are first results:
After the course on App development students
- want to continue to code
- think coding is more fun
- have a better understanding of the work of programmers
- can imagine choosing a career that involves coding
- really like the App inventor and the materials we provide.
- say that it is very likely that they recommend the course to other teachers (9.5 on a scale from 1 to 10).
- are highly interested in additional courses on programming.
Our goal is to reach 15.000 students within the next two years and to grow the App Inventor community in German speaking countries. We will also develop additional courses on App development and other topics. The funding from the Google Impact Challenge helps us to continue what we do. It would be great if you support us and vote for us:
If you are interested in our free learning resources, check them out here. (this is also great way to practice your German skills).
+49 172 1010 820