The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the lives of many around the globe. At MIT App Inventor, we are looking to see your creativity in these challenging times. Following on the success of our 2020 Appathon, we are hosting another MIT App Inventor Appathon for 2021, 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

Please visit our registration page to register for this event. Registration for this event closes on June 19th, 2021. At registration time, you will need to provide name, date of birth, parent email if under 18, country of residence, primary language, and gender of each of participant(s). Please make sure you have all of this information at the time you complete the registration form. Late forms will not be accepted.

Timeline

Item Date
Registration Opens June 1
Registration Deadline* June 19 at 00:00 AOE
Appathon Kickoff July 18 at 00:00 AOE
Submissions Due July 31 at 00:00 AOE
Finalists Announced Aug 10
Winners Announced Aug 17

* MIT reserves the right to restrict the number of registrations in the event of overwhelming interest.

Note: We will announce a more specific set of themes for apps at 00:00 GMT on July 18th (20:00 EDT July 17th) at the start of the appathon. AOE means Anywhere on Earth time.

Tracks

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 code.appinventor.mit.edu 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. Apps submitted as APKs will be rejected without review. 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 18-31 based on the theme(s) to be announced on July 18. 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.

Judging

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 was first introduced to computer science and MIT App Inventor as a college student at Xavier University of Louisiana. After moving to the Boston area for graduate school, Adia stayed 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 a computer science teacher in a local public school. Adia recently taught MIT App Inventor to rising high school seniors in the MIT Online Science, Technology, and Engineering Community (MOSTEC) Program.

Ben Stumpf (Concord Academy, USA)

For the past 20 years Ben has taught Computer Science and creative technology courses (filmmaking, graphic and web design, postproduction, and digital music) at Concord Academy, in addition to coaching soccer and running their Model UN program. Prior to teaching he worked for Apple Computer, helped with statewide tech planning for the MA Dept of Education, and co-founded a nonprofit to teach high school students technology skills in service to their communities. He has a Masters in Documentary Film from Goddard College, and spends much of his free time trying to stop the climate crisis.

Beryl Hoffman (Elms College, MA, USA)

Dr. Beryl Hoffman is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Elms College in Western Massachusetts. Her research interests are in computer science education and broadening participation in computer science for female and minority students. In her NSF and Google research grants, she develops curriculum and trains teachers for AP high school and college courses involving mobile apps and Java. Her NSF grant “Girls Immersed in Robotics Learning Simulations (GIRLS)” is a joint venture with UMass Amherst and Holyoke Codes to interest girls in robotics.

Cindy Rosenthal (MIT, USA)

Cindy has been the administrative assistant for the App Inventor Group for a little over a year. Prior to joining the group, she supported the Collections Directorate of the MIT Libraries. She has also worked in the tax practice of a tax and audit firm and in a small architectural office.

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 400 teachers and is being run in classes in 78 schools for 35,000 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 (boanova.org).

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. David also is an NVIDIA Jetson AI Ambassador and an Assistant Professor at NTUST.

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.

Fujio Yamamoto (Kanagawa Institute of Technology, Japan)

Fujio Yamamoto has taught computer science and parallel and distributed systems at Kanagawa Institute of Technology in Japan in the Department of Computer Science but is now retired and is an emeritus professor. He used to focus on Java in programming but has long used the MIT App Inventor in developing mobile applications. He presented his treatise (regarding the use of smartphone barometers and accelerometers) orally at the App Inventor Summit 2014 at MIT. His smartphone app has also been awarded the MIT App Inventor of the Month three times in the past.

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.

Jeff Schiller (MIT, USA)

Jeff is a Software Developer, Security Architect and Network Manager. He has spent more than 40 years building systems that have to work 24/7 with minimal human intervention. As Area Director for Security with the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), he spent 9 years shepherding the development of critical Internet security technology including IP layer encryption, E-mail encryption and Transport Layer Security (https). His recent work involves providing development and operations for MIT App Inventor.

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 (Technovation, 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, also serving as a CSTA board member for 5 years. Karen led the Education team at MIT App Inventor for 5 years. She currently develops curriculum for Technovation, a global tech education nonprofit that empowers girls to become leaders, creators, and problem solvers.

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.

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.

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

Peter is an App Inventor user since the classic version, App Inventor Power User and Kodular community moderator. 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. Peter has a personal website where he offers tutorials, materials, tips & tricks related to App Inventor. The website is in Dutch and can be found at https://petermathijssen.nl.

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 her teaching experience, she is also active in youth programming summits and Hackathon events. Queena is a mentor and an official speaker for global hackathon events like Technovation Girls, Girls in AI, App Inventor Hackathon, encouraging students to explore the power of 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.

Robert Parks (MIT, USA)

Robert is a curriculum developer, writer, and designer for the App Inventor team. His 2005 publication, Makers, was the first book about the maker movement. He has served as an editor at Wired magazine, as a contributing writer for Wired, Popular Science, and Make magazines, and has designed STEM resources for middle and high school students at the WGBH Educational Foundation. A maker himself, Robert is currently building a tennis-ball launcher from old treadmill parts.

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.

Sponsorship

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

Previous Iterations

If you’re looking for the page for the 2020 Appathon, please click here.

Disclaimer

The MIT App Inventor Appathon is open to anyone in the world, with the exception of United States embargoed countries (Iran, Cuba, Syria, North Korea, or Crimea area), regardless of age, nationality, gender identity, cultural identity, or political viewpoint. US law prevents MIT App Inventor from providing services to persons ordinarily resident in Iran, Cuba, Syria, North Korea, or Crimea and to parties blocked by the US Treasury Department.

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