Just 1 question: What's special about your app?

Just 1 question: What's special about your app?

The next Flappy Bird or Bejeweled gaming app could be in the making this summer at the Douglass Branch of the Champaign Public Library.

Kids Create Apps is a new program — funded by a grant (App Authors) awarded to professors in the University of Illinois' School of Information Science — that's designed to get kids interested in coding. UI doctoral student DeAnza Williams is leading the summer course, teaching students about the design and building process using App Lab software. While their finished products won't be available in the Apple Store, they can still be downloaded and shared online.

Three weeks into the summer course, Nicole Lafond stopped by to ask: What's special about your app?


fifth grade

Westview Elementary

"I'm going to make a game that's sort of similar to Flappy Bird, but it's going to be called Jumpy Horses. It's like where you have to jump over different obstacles as a horse.

"I love horses and I want to make Flappy Bird a little more easier and with different animals than just a bird. I like getting the hands-on experience because I learn from actually doing things."


fourth grade

Thomas Paine Elementary

"I'm making a movie app like Netflix. I like movies and TV shows a lot and I love watching them, so I thought I could do that. You can sign up to use it."


third grade

Westview Elementary

"My app is a life simulator, it's kind of like the Sims game. It's different, though; you're not going to be from a chopper view.

"I just like the Sims and wanted to do it. I'm on level seven on the Sims app and I've only been playing for, like, two weeks. Other people will definitely like mine; I think anyone over the age of seven can play it. My favorite part is learning how to make the app is because I want to be a game designer when I grow up."


fourth grade

Judah Christian

"My app is awesome. It's called Escape the World. It's going to be a game, like an escape-the-room type of game. I don't know why I'm making it, I just felt like it. I like those kind of games."


UI grad student

"I'm not making one, but I'm volunteering to help with this grant. ... This class can help kids get used to this fast-paced digital era. This is my first time doing something like this. Interacting with the kids and seeing their reactions to the softwares is interesting; sometimes their reactions are cute and I really like it."


UI graduate

Program Coordinator, YWCA

"I've done some coding myself and I really appreciate this program. It's great to get familiar with the process. It teaches the kids how to take a big idea and make something happen.

"It's cool to see their enthusiasm and their ideas and just the thought that if one of them gets really into it, they can create an app that might have lots of uploads eventually."

Have a question you'd like News-Gazette education reporter Nicole Lafond to ask of students, teachers or administrators? Our inbox is open for submissions — send an email to nlafond@news-gazette.com.


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