BCSWOMEN APPATHON – EDINBURGH

On Saturday 13th June the BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, and BCSWomen, ran an attempt to set a Guinness World Record (GWR) for the greatest number of people taking part in an appathon. To beat the record over 1000 people were needed to learn to code an Android app at the same time, at different locations across the UK.

I took part as an official time keeper for the Edinburgh attempt held at the Design Informatics Centre, at the Edinburgh College of Art. My role was to blow the whistle at 10.30am announcing the start of the attempt, and again at 11.30am to close it. I wish I had been creating apps however as it looked good fun.

All ages attended the event across the UK, with the eldest participants in their nineties, and for many this was the first chance they had had to play with technology. The GWR attempt took place over the first hour of the day with a 30 minutes briefing from the trainer, with some downloads and set up work, followed by 30 minutes coding. This involved using the AppInventor on a laptop to create a simple app, in this case using a picture of a cat that meowed when tapped. This was then downloaded to an android phone to complete the process. When the whistle blew the attempt finished with a synchronised meow from the coders.

The android workshop continued until 3pm, extending and enhancing apps, and creating more imaginative apps as the day went on.

This GWR attempt was part of the on-going effort by BCSWomen to reach more people and youngsters to encourage them into a career in IT, to show that computing can be fun and to raise the profile of computer science nationally. All location trainers for the day were female. The event placed technical women in front of lots of people in order to change the perception that ‘women can’t do technology’.

Did we break the World Record? This will take some time to verify but, as we had 1093 coders, the chances are looking good……

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