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App Jamming Summit - What the participants thought about it all

Lessons from App Jamming Summit

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Beatrice Villaflor - Year 8 student

AppJamming Summit is an Asia-wide competition where competitors as young as eight and as old as eighteen can enter apps and compete against one another. If you win the Asia Finals, you win a trip to MIT to meet with other coding enthusiasts. The theme varies per year however, for AppJamming 2017, it was Health and Fitness. My team and I were lucky enough to take part, and even be one of the finalists. I was working with two of my classmates; Elliot and Angus.

It was no easy journey, but over the weeks, we created WaterWatcher. It was a water intake tracking app, wherein we hand-drew its design and coded everything from scratch. We made it into the finals with our app, which was held in Hong Kong in March. It was extremely nerve-wracking for not just our team, but for everyone. We had met lots of young coders such as ourselves, for example a boy called Rohan from Singapore who made an app which helped you exercise, even when you were sitting on a bus or driving.

The Finals were extremely fun, despite the air of nerves clouding the competition. We got to chat and talk to people with similar interests to us, and watched them present their apps. We also got to explain our apps to people we didn’t know at all, and of course, the judges. The presentation was exhilarating. You were on a stage in front of dozens of people, with a microphone and your presentation, where eyes just watched you and took your photo and filmed you. It was extremely rewarding to be met with around of applause at the end. 

This experience has been like no other and has taught me a lot about how hard work can reward you immensely. It taught me the importance of collaboration and how no matter how old you are, or where you come from, you can make something that can truly make a difference. 

Simone Skovgaard - Year 8 student

My team created an app called PocketFitness for App Jamming Summit (AJS). AJS is an app competition and this year the theme was health and fitness. We decided to create an app that allows you to personalise your workout to match your ability and targets. Our app lets you choose which muscle group you want to increase and then gives you a workout plan to increase that muscle. We also decided to link our app into the Global Goals. Being an all-girls team, our app is targeted at other young girls to challenge the stereotype of women being weak and powerless. In places like the Middle East, women are limited to very few activities, sport is not one of them, our app is an easy workout method that can keep these women fit and healthy. Although our app is targeted at young girls, it can be used by everyone and all levels of ability. 

We started working on our app in December and as this was our first time to use proper coding we were thrilled to find out that we made it to the semi-finals. In the semi-finals we gave a presentation to one judge with no audience. There were 36 teams and only 7 made it to the Asia finals. 

At the finals, we made an A1 poster and a presentation to present to two judges and an audience. There were 17 teams from South Korea, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and other areas of Asia. Our biggest disadvantage was that we didn't have previous coding experience whereas many of the other teams took extra-curricular coding classes. We were also the only all girls team in the Finals. 

From this experience, I learned a lot of new coding and met new people with many creative ideas. I would like to use the coding that I have learned to enter next year’s AJS competition.