AppMachine gives master class at Dutch high school

AppMachine News Jerry Lieveld 1 Jul 2013

Build your own smartphone app within the space of an hour. An impossible assignment? Not for the students of group 4 of VWO (university preparatory education) at the CSG Jan Arentsz high school in the Dutch city of Alkmaar. During the App Challenge, in the framework of the School Inspiration Day, they were treated to a master class by AppMachine. Subsequently, they were tasked with building their own mobile web app. And they succeeded beautifully — even though their new Chromebooks almost overheated from their enthusiasm.

The School Inspiration Day is an initiative launched by students of the CSG Jan Arentsz high school who wanted to have the opportunity to organize their own school day. As technology lovers, it was only logical there would be interesting speakers from the likes of Nalden (WeTransfer) and BNN and that a number of workshops would be organized. They approached AppMachine for the same reason. The company created an event app for the school organization and sent its two youngest programmers, Matthijs (21) and Reint Jan (24), to the School Inspiration Day. They started by giving a brief presentation of AppMachine: what can you do with it (lots!), how does it work (wow!) and what is it like to work at a start-up (pretty cool!). Then, Matthijs and Reint Jan presented a live ‘app building’ demo on the digiboard.

The coolest app gets published

Following the demo, the students were divided into groups of two. They were given ten minutes time to come up with an idea for an app. The student who created the coolest app would be given the opportunity to actually publish it in the app stores. Needless to say, the class quickly got cracking. The students were able to use their new Chromebooks for the first time, and the systems almost suffered a meltdown as a result of their enthusiasm. Programmers Matthijs and Reint Jan were bombarded with questions: “Can you use Twitter as a photo feed?” “Great idea, we’ll work on that.” “How does this work?” “You will find the answer in the help file” “Oh, we never read that kind of stuff.” “In that case, we will have to do something about that.”

After an hour, almost everybody had a basic app ready. Many of these were apps for a sports association or for the high school proper. One of the conditions was that the apps should not be too personal in nature, as Apple generally does not allow that kind of app. Something that became clear during the Challenge was that providing an app with a beautifully crafted design requires a bit more time. Many students will use the summer holiday for that — or so they claimed.

The winner of the App Challenge was an app for Mission Olympics, an annual competitive high school sports event for secondary education. Currently, discussions are ongoing with the organization of Mission Olympics to see whether the app can really be submitted to the app stores.

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