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Youth APPLab Makes History This Past Summer with XO APPLab!

History! XO APPLab students became the 1st all African-American development team under the age of 20 to develop an app for the XO laptop!

As the summer comes to a close, we reflect on some of the amazing accomplishments our students have achieved in our innovative subset of Youth APPLab!

For six weeks this past summer (June – August, 2012), a group of 8 teenage students formed an amazing team and became Uplift, Inc.’s inaugural class of XO APPLab!

XO APPLab set out to create an app (activity) for the One Laptop Per Child‘s XO laptop.  Students and instructors worked together tirelessly during evening hours, Monday – Friday throughout the duration of the project.  Programming, testing, and debugging occurred until the very last day = Demo Day! where students not only demonstrated Word It!, a vocabulary app for the XO – but a version for Android devices as well.

XO APPLab began with no one knowing the Python programming language – and some had never programmed at all before our first day.  So, we broke into two teams: one to develop for the XO and the other to get introduced to programming Apps for Android Devices using App Inventor!  Instructors did nothing but facilitate while students brainstormed, narrowed nine (9) original ideas down to one (1), designed functionality, and separated the large effort into smaller and easier programmable parts – all while learning Python and App Inventor for the first time.

The result?

History!  XO APPLab students became the 1st all African-American development team under the age of 20 to develop an app for the XO laptop! 

We are sincerely proud of their effort, hard work, creativity, and dedication to the project!  You guys rock! …and so does our instructors!

We even documented several class days along with the final Demo Day on our Facebook page.  Please head on over and check them out at your earliest convenience!

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XO APPLab was graciously funded by the Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation in Washington, DC.  XO laptops were on loan from Sugar Lab DC.  We are truly grateful for their investment in these future software developers.

A published paper about the project is due out soon, so please stay tuned for more.

Of course 6 weeks was not enough time to learn these programming languages, design an app, and build it in it’s entirety – so there are a few more modifications needed before we can publish.  However, students did demo (a large portion of) each version on their intended devices.  Check out the Demo Day pics for more details!

Questions? Requests for more information?  Please feel free to contact us when you can.

Our Fall 2012 line-up of classes starts in just a week or so.  We look forward to more amazing projects from our students.

Please stay tuned for more….

Uplift, Inc.

By Leshell - Head Instructor

Leshell Hatley is the Founder of Uplift, Inc., the nonprofit that submitted Youth APPLab for the DML Competition.

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