It has been a busy summer for Preface — on top of coaching 300+ students in our Summer Boot Camps this year, our team has just returned from the MIT App Inventor Summit, one of the biggest developer summits in the world. During the 3-day summit, the Preface team interfaced with more than 1,000 developers and educators and presented the brilliant work of our students to the top technologists from all over the world.

Held by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) right on their campus in Cambridge, MA, the summit was an eye-opening event that showcased the most innovative tech projects developed by App Inventor students and educators. Preface was invited as a distinguished educator to host an educator workshop, showcase our student project, and present an academic thesis about the community impact of Preface Hackathon.

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Preface Coder project: Tin Hau Now and Then

Preface was invited as a distinguished educator to present the community project created by our students — “Tin Hau Now and Then through Our Eyes”. The project takes its audience back in time to see how Tin Hau has developed from a small village into the present-day neighbourhood through a series of thematic games and animations. The event participants were amazed by the quality of this project. Many of them asked if they could meet the little creators in person! The Preface team also had a lot of valuable exchange with other educators in how to deliver quality coding education using App Inventor. This gave us a lot of ideas for our upcoming App Inventor batch starting this September!

mit-workshop

Educator Workshop: How to build powerful apps with App Inventor Extensions

During the summit, the Preface team held a 3-hour workshop about how to utilise extension and connect external hardware to App Inventor for the coding educators. The first part of the workshop introduced some useful extensions that quickly expand the capacity of App Inventor as a mobile development tool, such as the Material Card Extension. The extension allows developers to put together an intuitive interface that involves significantly fewer blocks to build. While the audience was already familiar with the usual functionalities of App Inventor, they were impressed by how extensions can streamline development processes so simply.

In the second part of the workshop, the Preface team shared their experience of building the T-Rex Runner project with the audience. The project was an arcade game built with App Inventor and controlled via external hardware. The standard package of App Inventor does not offer an easy way for users to connect an app to external controllers. However, with the use of keyboard extension, developers can connect the control panel of the app to a set of external hardware keys with which you can perform different controls. The T-Rex Runner game is an example of how the original control as a simple tap on the touch screen is translated into a press on a big arcade button with the use of key extension which is especially useful for adding a dimensional experience to a software product.
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Academic Presentation: The community impact of Preface Coding Hackathon

On top of the hands-on workshop and product sharing session, our founder Mr Tommie Lo also took over the academic podium and presented a thesis on the community impact of “Preface Coding Hackathon” as an indispensable part of Preface’s programming curriculum. While the 1-on-1 personalised setup of Preface Coding lesson allows a 100% attention from teachers to help students learn, Preface Coding Hackathon serves as a complementary learning tool that adds a social element to the learning journey of Preface Coding students. It serves as a chance for all solo learners to collaborate with others and use what they learn individually to solve real-world problems together. The curriculum of Preface Coding is designed in a way that focuses on growing the individual strengths and characters of each student while giving them the opportunity to learn from their peers without having to compromise for individual progress.

Participating in the MIT App Inventor Summit was an invaluable chance for the Preface Team to share their vision in coding education on a global arena and receive feedback from educators of diverse background. As summer is approaching the end, we can’t wait to share what we’ve learnt in this summit with our students in the coming school year!

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