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10 Steps to Hosting a Coding Camp Focused on App Prototyping

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Listen and learn : Snapshot

Snapshots are a pairing of two 20 minute presentations followed by a 5 minute Q & A.
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Chris Turnbull  

Organize a summer or after-school camp focused on app design and prototyping to build student interest in coding. Learn about the process, free app-design resources, creating code-free Keynote prototypes to solve community problems, and building community connections by recruiting a showcase panel of computer science role models.

Audience: Coaches, Library media specialists, Teachers
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices not needed
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Presentation software - Keynote, PowerPoint, or Google Slides - Optional
Sketching app of choice - Optional
Topic: Computer science & computational thinking
Grade level: PK-12
Subject area: Computer science, STEM/STEAM
ISTE Standards: For Students:
Innovative Designer
  • Students develop, test and refine prototypes as part of a cyclical design process.
Computational Thinker
  • Students break problems into component parts, extract key information, and develop descriptive models to understand complex systems or facilitate problem-solving.
Creative Communicator
  • Students communicate complex ideas clearly and effectively by creating or using a variety of digital objects such as visualizations, models or simulations.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Participants will learn how a large urban school district followed 10 steps to organize and deliver a virtual summer coding camp focused on app design and prototyping to build student interest in coding. We will share our story of how we explored and built app prototypes to solve community problems in the midst of distance learning and community protests. In addition, strategies for building connections with community businesses and computer science experts will be shared.


I. Word Cloud Poll through Poll Everywhere or Mentimeter - What are some problems in the communities where you live that you think an app could help with? - 5 minutes
II. Marketing App Design and Prototyping Camp - 5 minutes
III. Teaching and Learning Online - Google Meet and Schoology and Balance - 5 minutes
IV. Creating A Prototype Step-by-Step - App Design Journal - 10 minutes (Participants create sketches of app screens with app of choice and share on social media)
V.UI vs UX - Overlap and Accessibility - 5 minutes
VI. App Icons - Design, Color, and Purpose - 10 minutes (Participants create sketch of app icon and share on social media)
VII. User Feedback - Back to the Design Cycle - 5 minutes
VIII. App Pitch - How To Stand Out - 5 minutes (Participants submit app slogan to Poll Everywhere)
IX. Recruiting Showcase Judges - Computer Science Experts, App Develops, and Community Connections - 5 minutes
X. Showcase Event - Key Takeaways - 5 minutes

* Student examples shared throughout
*Participants can create the start of a prototype during session and share out screenshots or short video on social media.

Supporting research

Apple Everyone Can Code Curriculum
Apple K-12 Teaching Code -
App Design Journal - Why Computer Science -
Howard, N. and Howard, K., ISTE, 2020. Coding +Math: Strengthen K-5 Math Skills With Computer Science.
Randles, ISTE, 2018. 4 ways to make CS for all a reality -
Silva, ISTE, 2019. Make Hour of Code a lifelong passion with these free resources -
Swift Coding Club -
Valenzuela, ISTE, 2019. Lessons to keep Hour of Code going year-round -
Valenzuela, ISTE, 2019. Profile of a technologically literate graduate -
Valenzuela, ISTE, 2020. Rev Up Robotics: Real-World Computational Thinking in the K-8 Classroom
Williams, ISTE, 201. No Fear Coding: Computational Thinking Across the K-5 Curriculum

More [+]


Chris Turnbull, Saint Paul Public Schools

Chris is an Apple Distinguished Educator & has been a district level technology integration specialist for the past 18 years, exploring computer science & coding, various forms of flipped professional development, student technology leadership Genius Squads, & supporting iPads as a learning and teaching tool in 1:1 PreK-12 classrooms with over 40,000 iPads. She has presented on a variety of tech integration topics at ISTE, Impact Education, International STEAM Summit, MN Codes Summit, & K12 Online Conference; delivered a TEDx Talk on creating 21st century classrooms that enable students to be Real World Ready & an ISTE Ignite talk about empowering students with iPads.

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