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First Full Year of Youth APPLab Now Complete! The result? A HUGE SUCCESS!!!

Youth APPLab!

This past Friday was the last day of Youth APPLab internships, and the last day of the first full year of Youth APPLab.  The day was filled with XBox 360 (what better way to celebrate), bragging about completed apps, and anticipation for what is to come in year two!

As I look back on this first year, I realize how far we’ve come and how proud I am of our students.

When we began, 75% of our students didn’t know what progamming meant and never heard of ‘coding.’  But today, about 10 months later, we have a list of 20+ apps waiting to be published on the Android Market (4 are already published)!

Apps already published and accessible using the link above are:

1. The App Inventor Tutorial app by Nate Evans, Jr., a rising 11th grader,
2. Third Grade Math app by Ali Hawkins, a rising 3rd grader,
3. The Brain Warm Up app by Faith Slaughter, a rising 8th grader, and
4. The Color Tap Game by Hamza Hawkins, a rising 12th grader.

Students have explored and learned ALICE, Scratch, GIMP, and App Inventor – and some have even begun to learn the Java programming language.  We’ve gone over presentation skills, the software development life cycle, game design, and pseudo-code – an idea each student initially didn’t see the need for but soon realized its importance.

We’ve been featured in Black Enterprise Magazine, on Black Enterprise TV, the Michael Eric Dyson Radio Show (marker 22:30), and have evenhung out with the Chair of the FCC, Julius Genachowski – at his request.  Two students, Kweku Sumbry and Hamza Hawkins, attended the 2nd Annual DML (Digital Media & Learning Conference) with me and successfully completed an app challenge to create an app (the Digital Business card) before the conference ended – which they finished in 30 min.  We returned from the conference and immediately participated in an elementary school STEM Expo the following day.

Two of our students even started their own app development company –SNIKWAH Interactive!

Did I mention how proud I am?  I’m sure you can see why.

After months of excitement, frustration, confusion, and more excitement, students designed, programmed, tested, debugged, and showcased their apps on Demo Day – June 25, 2011 to a room of family, friends, and supporters.  It was awesome!

Internships followed as we improved some apps and created 3 more for the DC community.  These apps will be published on the market soon.  Students had a great time visiting various places and making app presentations throughout the summer!

So, what’s next for Youth APPLab? Well, students and parents are demanding another year.  We hope to start classes again this fall and are looking for more funders, supporters, and friends.

In the meantime, please stay tuned by following us on twitter andFacebook!

Special thanks go out to our awesome students, their parents, Howard University Middle School of Math and Science, Howard University Computer Science Department, our 2 Howard student volunteers (Matthew and Imani, the photographer) and Marco Jacobs – my right hand man, for making this year run as smoothly as it did.

A huge congratulations go out to the four rising college freshman – all African-American males (Ke’von, Emmanual, Anthony, and Roi) who have decided to either minor or major in Computer Science after participating in Youth APPLab.  And a special acknowledgement to all the other boys and girls who are now also interested but just have a few more years of high school left.

I look forward to meeting new students this upcoming year and can’t wait to partner with the new Center for Mobile Learning at MIT (the new host of App Inventor in 2012).

A huge THANK YOU to the MacArthur Foundation, HASTAC, and everyone else involved in making this (idea) program what it has become today!

I can’t wait to see what happens next!  …and for some reason, I don’t think I’m the only one.

Thanks for reading!

Filled with excitement,


Youth APPLab is proudly powered by Uplift, Inc.


Awesome Moment Blog Boys High School Instructors Middle School Students Thoughts about Class

Last class for Youth APPLab

The last class for Youth APPLab, Thursday June 23 was probably my most memorable because it was the last class and after it ends nothing will be the same until the summer program starts. This experience on everybody was life changing and I wish I had more time to work with my classmates and better my understanding of the programs we used and didn’t get to. I know most people would agree that this class was and still is fun but there are some days that we have to be serious but even then it was still fun or it still will be fun because of the people involved in the program and how we go about it. Ms. Leshell and Mr. Marco are awesome teachers and they know a lot in the App field and to be able to learn  from them is a privilege. Though some people had some doubts on Mr. Marco’s occupation (they thought he was a spy) it was still fun to ponder on that and I still think people believe that. The volunteers helped as well in providing me with more knowledge as to what to do. All my classmates also helped though we had our moments where we put each other down or envied each other but it was in a crazy, funny way that always gave off a good vibe. We all got along there was no “beef” or issues between people there and we all had our own perspectives of the class, but mine is (special). I always had a technical problem on a regular basis, Ms. Leshell can disagree with that most times but it reigned true recently when it showed off its “special ways”. For instance the sound cut off for a good hour and I asked Afia ( she usually helped me with concepts I didn’t completely get in App Inventor if Ms. Leshell was helping somebody else out. ) if she could fix it and she tried but to no avail. Then I called Ms. Leshell when she had finished helping the person she had worked with while Afia helped me and that didn’t work either, until I closed out everything and opened it all back up again that the sound started to work but  I had tried multiple times before it really began to work. Also with my computer one of the speakers blew on my headphones I used to use, (so being the “special” computer it is ), the speaker that blew on my headphones, on that side, the computer started to vocalize whatever I was listening to at that moment. So strangely my computer plays music from the left speaker when a headphone jack is in and on headphones it has to play on the right otherwise people will hear whatever I am hearing at the moment.

P.S. I will probably add to this just not at the moment so if anybody asks if this is all I wrote, say “not for long”.

P.S.S. DUSCES!!! PEACE!!! ABOVE THE INFLUENCE!!! YELLOW 🙂 (SMILEY FACE)!!! LOL!!! ROFL!!! HAGS!!! LLLCFFPP!!!!!!!!! (laugh out loud, rolling on [the] floor laughing, have a great summer, and LAUGHING LIKE LAZY CRAZY FEELING FAT PROCRASTINATING PEOPLE!!!)

Awesome Moment Blog Girls High School Students Thoughts about Class

Last Day of Class

Yesterday was the last day of class for everyone. The class practiced how we would present are presentations on Saturday to everyone and fixed any mistakes. After the food came later that day, miss Leshell gave everyone a good-bye speech. Being in Youth APPLab was a really fun experience and I’m glad I chose to be in it.

App Design Awesome Moment Boys High School Students Thoughts about Class

First day back

Today’s class was nice. We presented our app ideas to the class while Imani filmed us, but we did it outside. This didn’t seem to pose too many problems until it was my turn to present. I had to start over many times because of the wind being loud and blowing my hair in my face, and people making background noises. Eventually I was able to finish my presentation, and Mr. Marco told me that there was an app similar to mine on the android market, going for $50. This is why I wish our apps didn’t have to be free.

App Design Awesome Moment High School Mobile Phone Students Thoughts about Class

good break, steamy weather, crunch time

Omg it’sOmg it os so HOT! First to class today and feelin ready. Got some new pictures over the break and everything is slowly but surely comming together. Today I read in an email that we have 2 months to complete our apps. I THINK that we all can get this done and by this I mean our indy projects done wayyyyy before then. Gonna try and b e cool until Ms. H gets here. Later bloggs¡!!!!