Last week for the national event, Girls’ Day in Science, ORBIT Lab had the pleasure of guiding a group of high school students through the basics of app programming. At the end of the workshop, the girls had programmed two apps.

Professor and ORBIT Lab Commander, Kasper Løvborg Jensen, explained the rapid development of mobile technologies and how apps spread to every corner of the world, before moving on to a hands-on workshop on Android app development. In the first part of the workshop, the students were shown how to build an app that could show endless random pictures of cats from the internet. In the second part, they programmed their own Instagram-like app and shared some selfies to a custom website set up for the workshop. This way, they were introduced to some of the basics of app design and development and learned how to deploy an app from their computer to a smartphone.

During the workshop, the students got help from the Health Tech Engineering students Christiane, Kristin, Stella and Line who had all passed the Smartphone Applications course at Aarhus School of Engineering. They also shared their reflections on their choice of study program and future career options and were helpful in answering questions from the eager high school students.

Professional tools for app development

Although the workshop was taught at a beginner’s level, the development tools applied during the workshop are the tools used by professional app developers. By applying basic app commands, the students gained an insight into the basic philosophy of app development and were able to create functional apps with a relatively limited introduction. But more importantly, diving into the technology behind app development, also opened their eyes to the possibilities that lie within the field of app and software development.

Kasper Løvborg Jensen said:

“I am really impressed with the students’ level of commitment and how far they were able to get within this limited timeframe. We wanted to challenge them and go a bit beyond what is normally possible in a 3-hour workshop, and they showed an aptitude for getting an overview of a relatively complex topic and set of tools, and they had a creative approach to solving problems. I hope the workshop has inspired them to understand that designing and building technology is exciting and that they can use it to make a positive difference in the world”

Most of the students had no prior app development experience, however, Frederikke Folkmann Siversens, student at Skanderborg Tekniske Gymnasium, said about her programming experience:

“I have some Python programming experience and that is why I have signed up for the app development workshop today. What I find fascinating about programming is that there are so many opportunities and that there is such a large degree of freedom as to how you program. There isn’t just one recipe for a program – it can be done in multiple ways and depends on your programming style. I like that!”

When asked, what she got out of taking part in the workshop, Camilla Islev Andresen, student at Randers Statsskole, said:

“I have learned a lot today about how we can use technology to create something new and make an impact on the world later on in our education, and for now we can use it to explore how to use technology in new ways…Today has made it clear to me that we girls can play a part, make a difference and affect the role technology will play in the future.”

About Girls’ Day in Science

Girls’ Day in Science is a national initiative where companies, science centers and educational institutions across the country invite grammar school and high school students in for a day of hands-on experience with topics in science and engineering.