Yesterday I helped my pal Peli deHalleux at the AppDay event in South Seattle, hosted at Rainier Beach High School. The gym was packed with 400 students from local high schools and a couple of middle schools. Each school was challenged to complete programming exercises with TouchDevelop on a smartphone, tablet or laptop.
It was cool to see the students embrace the challenge, help each other get unblocked and finish the exercises. Some of the students went beyond the exercise plans to create novel apps with a programming language they had no prior experience with.
I heard several girls at the event say: “I’ve never coded before…” yet they finished the exercises then invented their own apps. We need more girls interested and thriving in computer science. But we also should encourage students who don’t normally seek CS programs to at least experiment and apply their creativity.
Prior to the AppDay event I prepared a sample app which consumes a feed from the research.microsoft.com odata service.
The sample app came in handy to show the students who didn’t have devices at the event or were finished with their exercises. And they can use the feeds from the odata service anytime to continue building apps with TouchDevelop.
See the Geekwire coverage of AppDay here.