2012 MIT App Inventor App Contest: Results

2012 MIT App Inventor App Contest

The 2012 App Contest had 125 submissions in four categories: K-8, High School, College/University, and Open. Google Nexus 7 Tablets are being awarded to the 1st place winners, with App Inventor books given for second place. Participants included students as young as third grade, college students, hobbyists, professional developers, and even some self-described "retired old ladies"! The following are the prize winners and a few of the other notable apps:

1st Place, K-8 Division
EZ School Bus, Arjun Kumar. This two app solution helps parents to track their kids on bus rides home from school. The solution uses bar code scanning so students can check in and out from the bus, GPS to track the bus location and automated SMS messages to keep parents informed. Arjun has already proposed this app to his school administration and gained permission to run it as a pilot program this Spring. Its absolutely phenomenal work, one of the most creative and well thought out app of any age group in our contest. Arjun is a seventh grade school student from Velammal Vidyashram school in Surapet, Chennai, India. His EZ School Bus app was featured as an app of the day at Programmable Web. Here are links to the two apps that make up the solution:
Attender   Parent.

1st Place, High School Division
Pong Cubed, Matt Caswell-- This is a terrific version of the classic Pong game that lets you play against an auto-player (and the auto-player is really good!) or play against three other people on separate devices. Its a terrific examples of how App Inventor can be used to create a complex, multi-player game. Caswell is from Needham High School in Needham, Massachusetts.

1st Place, College/University Division
Molecular Movement
, Brian Nagy
-- This educational app teaches students about diffusion and osmosis and includes an animated lesson showing molecule movement and a multiple-choice post-lesson quiz. The app was created by Brian Nagy, a High School Biology teacher and grad student in the EdTech Master's program at Boise State.

1st Place, Open Division
Health Record, Duke Bonaventura- This app lets you record information about your kids health and doctor visits. It is a great example of using App Inventor to fill a personal need-- Duke wanted a simple way to jot down notes when his kids went to the doctor. The app has a particularly professional-looking and easy-to-use UI-- check it out!

2nd Place, K-8 Division
Reading Log for Kids, Jack Gordon
This kid-friendly, seven-screen app, created by third-grader Jack Gordon, lets you record the books you're reading,  time your reading sessions and keep a log of your reading time. The app solves a common need for young students and has been tested on both a Kindle Fire and a smart phone, with Jack's sister being test-user #1! Jack is a third grader at Cumberland Elementary School in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin.

2nd Place, High School Division
Taber Tiles, Taber Quigley. A great brain teaser game in which you touch tiles in an attempt to change all the same color. A well-designed game with good sound effects, a timer, the ability to reset, and instructions. Taber Quigley is a high school student who attends Canyons Technical Education Center (CTEC).

2nd Place, College/University Division
Learn By State-Idaho, Sherie Moran-- An app about the state of Idaho, it remixes a quiz, potato mash, potato chase game, and map tour with a nice UI and all Idaho style.  Sherie Moran created the app for use in fourth grade classrooms. She is a 7th grade teacher who moonlights as a grad student in Boise St. EdTech Master's program.

2nd Place, Open Division
Edupool, Joe Hammons. This fun-to-play educational game lets you drag a pool ball to the right hole to answer  questions. The app includes fill-in-the-blank word problems and math problems and provides visual clues to help students. Joe Hammons is a retired elementary school teacher who has developed free educational games for kids on Apple and Windows computers.

Honorable Mention

Photo Shopping, Salvatore Pirrera. This app lets you store pictures and information as you shop and has a complete user interface-- you can edit old items, navigate easily with image buttons, and the menus and forms provide great examples of how App Inventor can be used to create professional looking apps. Salvatore Pirrera is an architect who has published this and other apps on Google Play.

Hidato Helper, Abraham Getzler-- a terrific Sudoku like game created by Abraham Getzler, a retired programmer.

Ultimate Chat, William Tan
A mobile chat app that provides a nice example of complex parsing within an App Inventor app. William Tan is a student at Needham High School in Needham, Massachusetts.

Set in the Park, Jess Saunders An app that provides visitors to San Diego's Balboa park with a brand new way to explore the buildings and landscape. You can also post your own information about the park using the easy-to-use interface. Jess Saunders has used app inventor for a couple of years and was previously a Flash developer.

Get Info, Samo Gaberscek, Originally developed by the author who couldn't find an app to extract menu info from websites onto his mobile device, this app provides a general purpose method to extract info from your favorite sites. Samo Gaberscek started using App Inventor just a month before the contest!

CryptoDB, Tommaso Martino-- An app that lets you store secret messages with cryptographic keys so that only one with the key can retrieve. The app was created by Tommaso Martino, a medical student at University of Bari.

Simplex Solver, Allen Tang-- An app for solving linear equations that can be used by engineers in the field. The app was created by Allen Tang, a CS undergrad at UM-Amherst

Comic Mania, Napu Taitano. This app collects comic books from the web to provide a nice one-stop-shop for browsing comics on your mobile device. You can cull the list down in settings, making it easy to choose your reading for the day. It was created by Napu Taitano, a home schooled student, who uses his family of 7 (soon to be 8) to test his apps.

CarRun, Cayden Caulfield-- This fun game lets you dodge the cars coming down the freeway and catch coins to increase your health. Cayden Caulfield is a student at Copper Hills High school in Jordan Utah and the Canyons Tech Education Center (CTEC) in Sandy, Utah.

Windroid, George Dan. This app collects some common app inventor apps -- a calculator, pong, minigolf-- into a Windows-type UI. The user interface is really nice and the app is a clever mashup of existing apps. George Dan is a 6th grader at CGS.

SpellCoaster, Saajidah Kalla. Learn spelling by watching video of a roller coaster! Saajidah is a senior at Atlanta Girls School and this was her first experience engineering software.

Custom Color Maker, Marilynn Huret. App Inventor provides twelve built-in colors; this app helps App Inventor developers create custom colors for use in their apps. Developed by Marilynn Huret, Crossword expert and app developer extraordinaire.

Starband, Steve Marcus-- This  "space trading and exploration" game is  loosely based on the 1984 game Elite. Steve Marcus  has been programming with App Inventor since its inception and was previously a Web/Html programmer. The zip file for this app won't load due to its size, but you can get to the APK here.

Quotes from Participants
Arjun Kumar, EZ School Bus K-8 First place
I was looking for a good programming class a month back…that’s when my parents suggested MIT App Inventor. As soon as I got started with this tool, I got fascinated since it supported and fueled my passion towards technology. Today, I feel so amazed and excited looking at the possibilities of extending App Inventor’s strengths using the numerous APIs available in the market.

Marilynn Huret, Custom Color Maker, Honorable Mention
Programming wasn't "invented" when I went to school where I studied to be a math teacher. It took a while before I saw my first home-type computer sometime in the early 80's (the 1980's). It was a Panasonic Senior Partner that my husband brought home from his office and we spent several weeks manipulating the two 5 1/4 inch floppy disks and staring at the built-in green screen and internal thermal printer, figuring out how it worked. Over the years we accumulated many more "boxes
Most of what I knew I taught myself until I started taking courses at our local community college. There I learned about programming languages.

App Inventor is a way to interest students with the end result up front. I like the idea of the drag/drop (block style) programming because it gives students a quick start to developing an idea without having to initially do the background work which can be daunting at times. Somewhat like learning a foreign language by beginning with the conversation and then backing into the verb forms and syntax.

Duke Bonaventura, Health Record, Open Division First Place

I have been playing around with App Inventor since it was first released by Google in 2010. I have an engineering background, not a programming background, but my brain works in computer logic which is why I enjoy making apps. I am very much an App Inventor hobbyist, usually making apps simply to satisfy a need that I have. For example the first app that I made would take predefined strings of text and randomly parse them together to send my wife a text message when I got to work each day. I've also been able to develop apps for my job. I work as a defense contractor and was able to develop multiple choice quiz apps for my client. Unfortunately I cannot share them with the community gallery because I technically don't own them! App Inventor has served as the perfect way to scratch my programming itch and my love for working with the Android OS. Thank you for all of your hard work to keep App Inventor running and evolving!!!

Jack Gordon, Reading Log for Kids, K-8, Second Place
I am in third grade at Cumberland Elementary School in Whitefish Bay, WI. I am very interested in computers and programming. I started programming this year. First, I taught myself how to use Scratch and then I moved on to App Inventor. I wanted to be able to make apps for my Kindle Fire, so I decided to use App Inventor because it was a lot like Scratch. This is my first original app, but I have done others based off of tutorials.

Salvatore Pirrera, Photo Shopping, Honorable Mention
I'm a fan of "app inventor". I had no idea what it was programmed. I started programming with simple tutorial, and because I wanted to create an application that would allow me to make lists of building materials. Since then I have discovered a passion for programming. And when I have some free time I like to create simple applications, both gaming but also useful in everyday life.I developer apps for my work. I'm an architect. You can view my application at
https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=MobeaSoftware .
And i developer apps for gaming at

So thanks, thanks and thanks to you who have created AppInventor.

Napu Taitano, Comic Mania, Honorable Mention

My name is Napu Taitano. I am home schooled & have never taken a class on programming. About a year ago i began getting interested in developing Android applications and thought that App Inventor was the best choice. Since then i have posted a total of 7 Apps on Google Play.(I go by the name of Pig16).I live in a family of 7 (Soon to be 8) and at the moment our ages range from (Children wise including me) 2-16 so i have a lot of people to test my apps.

Sherie Moran, Learn By State-Idaho,2nd Place University Division
I am a Business, Economics, Social Studies and Political Science teacher in a small school in rural Idaho where I teach grades 7-12. I'm currently taking a Mobile App Design at BSU as part of my EdTech masters. This is my first course using App Inventor and my prior (extremely limited) programming experience was more than 20 years ago using BASIC! :)

Joe Hammons, Edupool, 2nd Place Open Division
I am a retired elementary school teacher who has developed free educational games for kids on Apple and Windows computers. I love Scratch!I am very excited about learning how to use App Inventor to develop apps for kids of all ages on android phones and tablets.