Mr O’Hare and Mr Lyttle were delighted to welcome David Pilkington from Sentinus to Wellington College on Tuesday 8th November, to put Year 10 to the test. The entire Year 10 group participated in the event, and boy, did they rise to the challenge. Some of the suggestions completely blew me out of the water! This was rapidly turning into a coding version of Dragons’ Den.

Now before I go any further I’m going to apologise in advance: I simply can’t list them all here and perhaps I’m overlooking what will be the next Facebook, but here are some of the ideas: One group came up with “Cook n’it”. Tell the app how much time you have to cook, how many people you need to feed, and the ingredients you have, and it will suggest some recipes. “History Finder” greets you with an interesting fact from this day in history, and uses GPS to tell you of great historic events that happened within a certain radius, as well as what you can expect to see when you visit today.

I expected that “Hear My Voice” was a singing app, but it was much cleverer than that.It was a “text to speech” facility for children with disabilities, and a networking tool to support communication, build friendships and encourage peer support for people with similar disabilities. “My Fitness” is a daily fitness routine tailored to your age, height and weight. Let the app know your goals, and it will plan a workout and eating plan for you. “Code helper” is a Python (not the snake) help facility, to will make beginners become familiar with code issues, and provide examples of how codes can be used in programs.

“Golf Ball Tracker” means that the age-old scenario of losing your ball in the rough is now a thing of the past, with a geotagged ball you can track and recover. Unfortunately, I’m told that it won’t make you the next Rory McIlroy.

Amongst the other titles we reviewed were: Thinker, Gifter, What & Wear, Mood Changer, Bottle Opener, Cook Me and essentially, to name a few! Phew, what an amazing array of ideas! So what happened next… The pupils were introduced to Google App Inventor, and given both a PC laptop and an Android device to get started. They all made a basic app, and transferred it to the Android device for testing. I’m pleased to report that all tests were successful!

Making this event even better is the opportunity to compete against other schools for a stellar prize! Teams who are entering the competition need to spend some time after school developing a working prototype with the ICT Dept. The winning teams from all the schools involved, that develop to prototype, get a day out in City Hall on 6th December - yes, only a couple of weeks away. They and their teachers will enjoy a prize event with lunch, trophies, and kudos for their schools.

Best of all is the top prize! The overall champions will win a six–day, all-expenses-paid trip to Silicon Valley, California, in March 2017. They will tour Apple and Intel, visit the computer museum, meet real app developers and soak up some Californian sunshine. They will also be due some massive bragging rights! Watch this space for more news as it develops, no pun intended....