The year 2020 has disrupted the lives of many around the globe. At MIT App Inventor, we are looking to see your creativity in these challenging times. In lieu of our App Inventor Summit 2020 we are organizing a worldwide appathon, a marathon-like event to build apps. Create and submit an App Inventor app that will help someone in need or make a difference in your community. Read on for registration details, deadlines, judging criteria, our organization committee, and more.


Registration for this event closed on June 19th. We will be reaching out to all registered participants by June 26th with more details.


Item Date
Registration Deadline June 19
Appathon Kickoff July 12 at 00:00 GMT
Submissions Due July 19 at 00:00 GMT
Finalists Announced July 29
Winners Announced Aug 3

Note: We will announce a more specific set of themes for apps at 00:00 GMT on July 12th (20:00 EDT July 11th) at the start of the appathon.


We will be offering 5 tracks for participants:

  • Individual youth - Individuals under the age of 18 working alone on a project.
  • Team youth - Teams of individuals under the age of 18 working on a project.
  • Mixed team - Teams of individuals of all ages, but at least one under 18 and one over 18, working on a project.
  • Individual adult - Individuals 18 and older working alone on a project.
  • Team adult - Teams of individuals 18 and older working on a project.

Submission Requirements

Teams must submit an AIA project export of their App Inventor app as well as a video of no more than 2 minutes explaining how the app works. Judges will test all apps using the server, but participants can use any of the MIT run App Inventor services to develop their apps.

List of MIT services:

Video Information

Videos may be in languages other than English, but we kindly ask that if you choose to record your video in another language that you provide English subtitles for the judges. Videos may be hosted on a third party service (e.g., YouTube), but must be accessible for judging. The submission form will allow you to upload a video or provide a link. Given that judges may be reviewing many submissions, use the video as an opportunity to highlight the main goals and features of your app.

App Information

Apps should be submitted as exported projects, and should be the original works of the team members. The projects should not have previously been submitted for any other app competition, including App of the Month. Apps should have been made during the period of July 12-18 based on the theme(s) to be announced on July 11. Judges will import your projects into App Inventor to evaluate and test them. If we need a login to use your app, please use the corresponding fields in the final submission form to provide login details for the judges.

Please do not use any copyrighted material in your submissions unless you can also provide written documentation to indicate you have permission to use those materials. Materials licensed under permissive licenses such as Creative Commons are okay, but please indicate the source of the material in your app.

If your app works with external hardware, please describe in your final submission the hardware required and how the app interacts with it. If possible, we will try to acquire hardware for testing, but your description of how the app interfaces with the hardware may be used for judging if the corresponding materials cannot be acquired.


Below is a sample of the judging criteria.

  • Creativity - How novel is the app idea? Does the app make use of a unique mix of technologies?
  • Design - How does the user interaction with the app flow? Does the app’s aesthetics make it approachable?
  • Potential Usefulness - What is the potential impact of the app? Does the app have the potential to effectively help its target audience?
  • Technical Skill - Does the app make use of well designed data structures? Is the code well organized and commented? Were any advanced features, such as the “any component” blocks used?
  • Presentation (video and supporting materials) - How do the app creators present their work? Will viewers get a sense of the importance/effectiveness of the app?

There will be two rounds of judging. In the first round, all of the submitted apps will be reviewed by at least two judges. From the initial round, the apps will be narrowed down to the top 5 in each team category. From those 5 apps, the first, second, third, and honorable mentions will be decided.

People’s Choice Award

We will publish a website with the app submissions where people can vote on a “People’s Choice” winner. If you would prefer your app to not be included for consideration, please note this in the final app submission form.

Organizing Committee

Adia Wallace (Black Girls CODE, USA)

Adia Wallace is thrilled to join the hackathon representing Black Girls CODE. She is a southerner who was first introduced to computer science and MIT App Inventor as a college student at Xavier University of Louisiana. She went on to attend Harvard Graduate School of Education. After graduating, Adia decided to stay in Boston to pursue a career in STEM education advocacy for underrepresented groups. She has held various roles as curriculum developer, instructor in STEM outreach programs, community advocate, and is currently a computer science teacher in a local public school. This summer, Adia is teaching MIT App Inventor to rising high school seniors in the MIT Online Science, Technology, and Engineering Community (MOSTEC) Program.

Anshul Bhagi (Camp K12, India)

Anshul is an MBA graduate from Harvard Business School and a Computer Science graduate from MIT, where he participated in the development of the MIT AppInventor platform along with Prof. Hal Abelson and assisted schools / universities worldwide to implement coding in their k-12 curriculum. His past work experiences span McKinsey & Company, Google, Apple, and Microsoft, and today he runs global ed-tech startup Camp K12, which teaches coding and other essential 21st century skills to students age 6-18 via Live / interactive / gamified online sessions.

Brianne Caplan (Code Your Dreams, USA)

Brianne Caplan is the CEO and Founder at CoderHeroes, a kid-centered “learn to code” program where kids ages 7- 18 team-up with other brave and aspiring coders to build world-changing apps. Its buy-one-give-one model means that families who pay for classes are helping to fund programs for students in underserved neighborhoods. Brianne is also the Executive Director and Founder at the Chicago-based non-profit, Code Your Dreams.

Daniel Lai (Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, Hong Kong)

Daniel is the Program Director of Coolthink@JC - a Computational Thinking and Coding Education Program for primary school students in Hong Kong. The program is being funded by Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust (“JCCT”), and co-created by JCCT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Education University of Hong Kong, and City University of Hong Kong. The aim of the program is to inspire digital creativity of students in this digital age. Since its launch in 2016, Coolthink@JC has trained 110 teachers and is being run in classes in 32 schools for 16,000 students. Daniel was Vice-President (Administration) and Professor of Practice (Computing) of Hong Kong Polytechnic University from 2015-2017, Government Chief Information Officer of Hong Kong SAR Government from January 2012 to January 2015; Head of Information Technology of MTR Corporation Ltd. from 1999 to 2011, and held senior IT managerial positions at The Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) in Hong Kong and Australia between 1978 and 1999.
Daniel is a seasoned information technology professional with 50 years’ experience. He is a graduate of Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Griffith University, with a Master in Technology Management. He is a Distinguished Fellow and Past President of Hong Kong Computer Society, Founding Chairman of CIO Board, and a Fellow of Hong Kong Institute of Engineers.
Daniel contributed significantly in promoting the development and application of IT in Hong Kong and the region. In recognition of his contribution to the development and promotion of IT, he was awarded Bronze Bauhinia Star (BBS) by the Hong Kong Government in 2004. Daniel has received many CIO Awards including Computerworld Laureate, Top China CIO Award, ZDNet CIO of the Year, and IDC Asia CIO of the Year etc.

Daniel Paz de Araújo (PUC-Campinas, Brazil)

Daniel Paz de Araujo is a Brazilian Master Trainer in Educational Mobile Computing with MIT App Inventor, and holds degrees of Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, MBA in IT Management, Master of Science in Intelligence Technologies, and Digital Design, and a Ph.D. in Visual Arts and Technology. He also is a certified as Scrum Master and Scrum Product Owner. Dr. Paz de Araújo is a Makerspace Lab Manager, professor of Digital Games, and researcher on UX/UI. His experience includes planning, design, modeling, development, integration, testing, and delivery of systems for banking, defense, commerce, education, and entertainment. He is also the co-founder and CTO of Boanova Digital Design (

David Tseng (CAVEDU Education, Taiwan)

David Tseng is the co-founder of CAVEDU Education and focuses on STEM education. He was a visiting scientist in the MIT App Inventor team from 2017 to 2018. If you want to build cool App Inventor projects with robots or IoT devices(e.g. Arduino, microbit or Raspberry Pi via Bluetooth/Wi-Fi), he is happy to help.

Evan Patton (MIT, USA)

Evan is the Lead Developer on the App Inventor project. His aim is to help App Inventor users realize the full potential of their app ideas through the development of new components and features to aid in collaboration, rich data collection and visualization, and efficiency. During his time as a graduate student, Evan consulted on the PUNYA project to expand App Inventor capabilities for humanitarian causes, and he has consulted for a number of companies deploying Android and iOS applications. Evan completed his Ph.D. on optimizing reasoning software power consumption on smartphones at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in June 2016 prior to joining the App Inventor team. He also holds a M.S. in Cognitive Science and B.S. in Computer Science & Psychology from RPI.

Hal Abelson (MIT, USA)

Professor Abelson is well known for his work in undergraduate computing education and is a co-author of the classic text Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs (MIT Press, 1985, 1996). He is a leader in the global movement for Open Educational Resources and a founding board member of the Free Software Foundation and Creative Commons.

Jeff Freilich (MIT, USA)

Jeff trained as a mechanical engineer and has worked in the high-tech industry for over 25 years in roles ranging from R&D and engineering product management to partnerships and business development. He’s been at MIT for over ten years managing portfolios of corporate relationships at MIT, but now focuses primarily on developing educational technology for the workforce, especially through online courses. He loves jazz, dogs, New England style India pale ales, though not necessarily in that order.

Jennifer Rosato (College of St. Scholastica, USA)

Rosato is the director of the National Center for Computer Science Education, which champions, researches, and provides equitable computer science education opportunities for K16 students and educators. NCCSE programs include curricula and professional development for Advanced Placement courses including Mobile CSP and CSAwesome, which are used by thousands of teachers and students across the country. Rosato has also created and directs programs to prepare computer science teachers in pre-service and in-service programs. She is the principal investigator and consults on multiple grants from the National Science Foundation, Google, and Infosys Foundation, USA.

Jere Boudell (Clayton State University, USA)

Jere Boudell is a plant ecologist with a keen interest in technology development and use in ecology research, outreach, and education. When she is not botanizing in the field, she can be found promoting coding as a means to increase the creative problem solving skills of biology majors. In 2013, she discovered MIT App Inventor and has organized and run workshops and hackathons on college campuses, at science conferences, and at the MIT App Inventor Summit.

Karen Lang (MIT, USA)

Karen spent several years as a software engineer, and then decided education was her true calling. She spent most of her career teaching Computer Science, in several international schools and around New England. She has also served on board of directors for the Computer Science Teachers Association and is passionate about Computer Science education and exposing students to the boundless opportunities CS presents.

Kathy Deng (Google, China)

Kathy Deng is currently a Senior Program Manager at Google University Relations / Education in East Asia. She is responsible for programs to support and deepen the relationship with research students in East Asia, the next generation of researchers. She’s also managing Computer Science Education programs for Greater China, to support professional development for K-12 teachers and inspire K-12 students to learn Computational Thinking through visual programming tools. Kathy has been working on a variety of university research and K12 education programs for about 10 years at Google.

Li Yue (South China University of Technology, China)

Dr. Li Yue graduated from the Department of Electronics at Tsinghua University and is on the faculty of Department of Computer Science and Engineering at South China University of Technology. She has committed her time in promoting the idea of Computational Thinking in China with the collaboration with Google. For the past several years, she organized the Google-China youth programming competitions using App Inventor as the platform. The competition attracts thousands of students across China to participate every year. With her excellency in the K12 teaching training and Computational Thinking research, she has been awarded the best cooperation partner by Google Education in 2015, 2016 and 2018. Yue also received the first prize award in teaching innovation competition which is organized by the Excellence League alliance of China in 2018. The prize is one of the most prestigious early career awards for university young faculty.

Lissa Soep (YR Media, USA)

Elisabeth (Lissa) Soep is Executive Producer for Journalism and Founding Director of the Innovation Lab at YR Media (formerly Youth Radio), the Oakland-based national network for next-generation news and arts. YR stories Lissa has produced with teen reporters have been recognized with honors including two Peabody Awards, five Murrow Awards, an Investigative Reporters and Editors Award, two Third Coast International Audio Festival Awards, and the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award. With a PhD from Stanford University’s School of Education, Lissa has written about digital media and learning for academic journals, popular outlets (NPR, Boing Boing), and books including Youthscapes (with Maira, UPenn Press), Drop that Knowledge (with Chávez, UC Press), and Participatory Politics (MIT Press). With Asha Richardson, she founded YR’s Innovation Lab, a partnership with MIT and Cornell Tech that was among the first community-based initiatives in the US to teach teens to code, and the first embedded in a newsroom. Her work as a writer, producer, and editor has been featured on NPR, the New York Times, The Atlantic/CityLab, and Teen Vogue. In 2011, she became one of six members of the MacArthur Foundation’s Youth and Participatory Politics Research Network, which explored how young people use digital and social media to express civic voice and agency. For more than ten years, Lissa served on the Board of Directors of the United States’ premier youth poetry organization, Youth Speaks.

Marisol Diaz (MIT, USA)

Marisol Diaz has been the Project Manager for MIT App Inventor since 2013 and has been at MIT for over 20 years. Marisol has a background in management, sales, communications, customer service, event planning and marketing. She worked for the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) for her first 10 years at MIT.

Michelle Sun (First Code Academy, Hong Kong)

Michelle Sun is the founder of First Code Academy, a leading coding and STEM education institute for kids from 3 to 18 years old and author of Amazon Best Seller First Time Coders, Definitive Guide to Coding for Children. She is also an advisor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)’s Computer Science Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL). Prior to starting First Code, she held various technical roles in high growth startups in Silicon Valley, including Buffer and Bump Technologies (acquired by Google) and started her career at Goldman Sachs. Her work has received international and regional accolades including the Forbes 30 Under 30 in Asia List and BBC 100 Influential Women.

Peter Mathijssen (MIT App Inventor Power User, The Netherlands)

Peter Mathijssen is a 54-year-old Registered Nurse living in the Netherlands. Peter is an App Inventor user since the classic version, App Inventor Power User, Kodular community moderator, AppyBuilder moderator, and Thunkable Power Thunker. Besides playing with App Inventor and moderating the community, he works on tutorials and promotional materials. Peter is one of the team members representing App Inventor at FOSDEM in Belgium.

Queena Ling (Preface Coding, Hong Kong)

Queena has extensive experience in both teaching and curriculum design. Since 2014, Queena has taught young and mature students from Hong Kong, Tokyo and London on web programming and mobile app development. She is also a corporate trainer who provides programming training for schools and business clients. Apart from that, she has been developing Hackathons to empower students to employ technologies, like machine learning, and computational abilities to solve real-world problems. She is proficient and experienced in most of the popular coding languages, like HTML, CSS, Python, Ruby on Rails etc.

Selim Tezel (MIT, USA)

Selim joined the App Inventor team in 2018 as a curriculum developer. He is a former K-12 mathematics teacher who has taught overseas and in the US for 22 years, exploring intersections of technology and playful constructionist pedagogies in the classroom. Recently he worked on the Beauty and Joy of Computing project as a curriculum designer at EDC (Education Development Center) which in collaboration with UC Berkeley and NYC Public Schools aims to make computer science accessible and enjoyable for a diverse population of students. When not working Selim enjoys playwriting and creating visual arts.

Tara Chklovski (Technovation, USA)

Tara Chklovski is CEO and founder of global tech education nonprofit Technovation. Featured in the award-winning documentary Codegirl, Forbes named Chklovski “the pioneer empowering the incredible tech girls of the future” and Discovery Science Channel named her its first “CEO Science Super Star Hero” for her work. She’s advocated for STEM education at the White House STEM Inclusion Summit, SXSW EDU, UNESCO’s Mobile Learning Week, and led the 2019 education track at the UN AI for Good Global Summit. Since 2006, Technovation has welcomed over 130,000 children and parents, and 14,000 mentors, to its programs from 100+ countries.


If you or your organization is interested in sponsoring the MIT App Inventor appathon, please send an email to to make arrangements.


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