On Friday 1st June, IB Computer Science students from 5YL visited ORT University in order to apply Computer Science skills outside the classroom. 

Programming teachers and other people in charge of the area planned a whole activity for our students to go to the IT labs over there and program so as to have a working app in 2 hours. This was achieved with MIT App Inventor which is similar to Scratch, a tool taught in IT classes at our School. 

In the ORT University IT labs every student had his/her own computer and Android tablet with all the needed software already installed and running. Some students worked in pairs and some others preferred to work alone.

The whole activity was a pleasure to observe since every single student was fully concentrated on the task and as time went by, they could see the results of their apps working on their tablets.

At the end of the course all of them were handed copies of the steps needed to repeat the apps created by them throughout the course, a notebook, pens, a brochure with information about the careers available at the University and a snack for the trip back to school which made them very happy at that time of the day.

They also gave each student a personalised diploma certifying their attendance to this App Inventor course. Details such as these provide the experience with a more professional and realistic approach. 

On the trip back Victoria Bauzá (Career Counsellor) and Agustina Sapelli (IB teacher) asked them about their thoughts on the experience of programming at the University labs and the general comment was that  the experience was great and that they never thought it would be that good.

The University staff congratulated the teachers for their student´s behaviour and their approach to the work set.  

Last Monday Agustina Sapelli asked each student to write a brief summary of what they thought of their experience. These are the results:


Julieta Alvarez:

I enjoyed a lot the trip last Friday to ORT University. I believe seeing instantly the results of what we were doing was really satisfying, and also very encouraging to continue doing more exercises.  The only thing that took me out of that comfort and satisfaction was that the wifi wasn´t working properly, and to Florencia and me it affected because we stayed behind given the fact that they continued doing other things to the app, and continued on to another exercise and we were still on the first one. Still, we managed to continue.

 What I really liked about this is that as we only had approximately 2 hours, it was something easy to understand. You could do it easily. Still, I would have added a free exercise; I mean, I would have given us a period of time to experiment and create what we wanted. 

 I can say as a conclusion that I really enjoyed this trip although I´d make some small adjustments.

 Juan Bañales:

Last Friday we visited the ORT. Although I was there before, I have never been to that sector of the university. What I most liked was the activity which was offered, as I was expecting something similar to what we were doing up to now in Computer Science class. The usage of Scratch (the app and programming language used) gave me some extra experience in programming, as I did not know about this. Also, it´s a good tool to learn how to program, as in my opinion, it is a good way to start understanding and to imagine how programming works.

On the other hand, it´s a tool that is very different to our actual one (Netbeans), so apart from the knowledge learned, we cannot apply it to our tasks. The ORT received us in a very warm and pleasant way. Since we arrived, we were guided through the institution, and two teachers helped us with our activities. We were also given information about the university, for example, which careers are studied there, something which was interesting for me as I´m interested in studying there in the future.

 Florencia Batlle:

On Friday 1st of June, we went to ORT University to learn how to use MIT App Inventor which is used to create apps in android. I liked that it is very easy to create an app with this program. It is very similar to scratch where they already give you the command terms and you just have to fill in a blank with a variable or with more commands. The instructions were very clear and they give you everything you need to do to complete each task. Also, we saw the results as we had a tablet to see the app in person and how it would work.

The thing I did not like as much is that it didn't help me in my computer science skills, which is fine because I learned to create an app even if it was really easy and fun.

I would definitely recommend because it is a fun experience to learn how to do an app, which is a tool that you may need to use in the future as technology is the future.

 Sebastian Ercoreca:

Attending to the ORT course was a very good experience for us as students of Computer Science, although that we didn’t use the same methods as in the class it was very easy to learn how to do basic applications, it was another kind of satisfaction when seeing the results in a Tablet. The teachers of the course were very nice, and they explained efficiently the way in which all worked for the application to worked. I think it’s a very good course to inspire young people studying Computer Science and related studies to make them self-apps and be just more creative expanding their horizons. Only one visit isn’t enough, in my opinion, more classes like these should be taught, because although its “easy” it can be better for students if there were at least one more class.

 Matteo Goldwasser:

I think this was an incredible experience and I learned a lot. We learned a useful tool called App Inventor, which is an easier way to code for Android. I will continue using it on my own and continue learning about it. You can make cool apps without coding, only using logic. I liked the class, the teacher, that everything was organized (each student had an iPad) and that if you had trouble running the app there was someone to assist you. Also, they gave out photocopies for you to have to register what you learned. At the end of the class they gave us a certificate and a meal for the trip. I really think there were no disadvantages in this trip to ORT.

 Joaquin Gomensoro:

Last Friday we went to the ORT to program in a really different way. It was easy to understand and we could see a result much better than java because here we did an application only in a morning. This way of programming impressed me. How can we make such result so easily, because it was just like scratch but with a much better result. But also the people there were very helpful, they helped us and explained really well making all of us understand perfectly because at the time we headed back to the school, everyone had managed to make an application. This is great how we can make this so easily but also this limits us because this applications made are not so good as a java made one because it is more difficult but much freer. Also needless to say at last we went very happy with this new way of working and they gave us a snack that no one expected because we were only thinking is what we just learned.

 Carlos Gruss:

I really enjoyed this trip as we learned a simple and easy way of programming, where we could see the thing we programmed in real time on our phones. It was also a fun way of seeing how a program would transfer to an app. App inventor is a really good resource as it is not only easy to use and very intuitive, but you have the ability to use the companion app to test your program, and a really easy way to download it, besides, you don’t have to download anything as it is online.

 Pedro López:

At first I thought it was going to be boring, but then they started to explain what we were going to do so I got interested. The computers were very slow, they had a problem with the internet and I had to switch off my computer like 4 times, so finally I went with a friend and we worked together. I used scratch that is an application similar to what we use, and we started building apps. In the part of doing the picture they didn´t give us any instructions so we started putting things until we got it and we were happy of achieving what we got and I personally wanted to stay more time.

 Matias Perez:

Last Friday we went to the ORT, to attend a programming course. This course was very entertaining because it was dynamic and fun, the exercises created by them were very open because you could bring your own style into them. Also, the software we used was easy to understand and also simpler than pure code. Because of this, we were able to create and have three complete running apps. In my opinion, this was what made the event really fun. Also, the teacher was always there if you needed anything and the instructions that they gave out were very clear.


Felipe Sarachaga:

It was my first outing of this kind, I really enjoyed it since I thoroughly like, and I am interested in the topic of app development. I´ve used scratch in the past and enjoyed the experience but throughout the years I forgot the joy of working with this simplified form of programming. Being similar to Scratch, it was easy for me to get the hang of it rather quickly. The course itself was relatively basic, giving us the chance to experiment and develop the apps ourselves. Moreover, we all managed to finish several functioning apps which was nice, and the equipment was really good as well. They welcomed with their best attitude and the tutorials were done in the same way, everyone was very nice, and we left with a folder containing a notebook, pen and brochure as well as some food for the trip back. The time was sufficient enough to understand and work on the projects without being neither too long nor too short. It was a great experience overall and I genuinely value the work behind it.


Josefina Secco:

We went to ORT University. The experience was worth it. At starters, the first impression was that the university was really tidy, people there were very charming and very welcoming.

There we learned how to use App Inventor which is a program to create applications for android explicitly. The system was easy to understand and the instructions provided were simple and clear. There we were sat in pairs, each pair had one computer and one tablet. The computer was used to program and the tablet to run the program. The experience was fun and dynamic, we learned fun things. The method was similar to scratch and although I did not use it as a child it was easy to understand. However, in my opinion, it was too easy to deal with and we may have learned fun things but I doubt it will be useful for my future. Nevertheless what I rescue more from the experience was that we got to know the university inside and it gave me a picture of how it works.

 Alejandro Sere:

I really enjoyed the trip last Friday. It was refreshing, interesting, and something that got us out of the routine. It was fun to create our own apps, and see what possibilities for creation we had. However, even though I enjoyed it, I think there are some issues with the activity.

Firstly, I do not think what we learn in the ORT is that much compatible to what we learn in class. I think they are wildly disconnected. Secondly, I understand that we cannot learn a programming language in 2 hours, but it was disappointing to be given the programs already made. In conclusion, I believe that it was a fun activity that took us out of the routine, and made us see what it is possible to create with the tools at our disposal. However, it lacked a strong link to the topics we learn at school, and our creations weren´t truly ours. Still, it is important to learn things beyond the classroom, and the experience achieved that.

Elijah Wendel:

I thought the class at the ORT was really good. We learned how to use a new program which showed another way to program that was easy and educative. I thought the experience was really good, and an idea to see more of the computer science world. There weren't that many things I did not like, I thought the lecture was well made. The only defect was the internet which made everything slower. Apart from that it was a good learning experience, interesting and gave us a different aspect of it all.



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