I recently got a new phone. It’s an Android. So far, I really like it. I use Google products on my PC and so this phone feels familiar. I am in my late 40s and often appreciate not having to climb another learning curve! After a month and a half of ownership, I am still learning how to use my phone and downloading new apps almost everyday.
Meanwhile, we are getting ready for an upcoming VEX tournament in Richmond. I thought it would be cool to have an app for my phone that would tally the score for the matches. I learned about Google App Inventor from a book, “The Rough Guide to Android Phones” by Andrew Clare, which I got for Christmas from my son.
After a while of reading through the tutorials, I was becoming quickly frustrated. My book said, “This web application lets you build your own apps from scratch without any programming knowledge”. Well, it wasn’t working for me.
|VEX Scoring App|
That’s when I called Andrew, my 15 year old, over to help. Within a few hours he had created a score keeping app for my phone! It not only calculates the score, but also Tweets the results! I must admit I was a little jealous of his quick success. I used to be able to do things like that…
As I sat beside him and watched him connect little puzzle pieces of code together, I was amazed. It was only a few short years ago that I showed him a BASIC program on the PC. In the last 6 years he has taught himself BASIC programs, NXTG, HTML, Visual Basic, RobotC and more. His experience, not only of teaching himself, but also of programming, enabled him to create his first app in only a few hours.
Kids can do amazing things when given the opportunity and are encouraged to do so.