Before I started coding, I vaguely assumed that it was too difficult and boring. Today, I would say that this is definitely not true as coding has become one of my all time favorite passion. For those who may not know, coding is “the process of designing and building an executable computer program to accomplish a specific computing result or to perform a specific task.”
Recently, I participated in the Seoul Hackathon, an annual coding competition in which graphic designers and programmers collaborate to create an application of their choice based on a given prompt. The theme of the competition changes every year: this year’s prompt was to create an application that addresses a COVID-19 related issue.
To get started, I formed a team with friends from my school who are experienced coders. We brainstormed the best route to take to tackle the prompt and decided to create an application that teaches senior citizens how to use video calling applications such as Google Meet, Skype, and Zoom. This idea mainly stemmed from the fact that many seniors have trouble navigating such applications, which are vital for them to connect with their relatives and receive emergency help if necessary.
|[Image of the home screen of my application, “Help Grandpa.”
Photo courtesy of Sean Kang]
In the main screen of our app, “Help Grandpa,” the user is required to enter his or her name. This is followed by a screen which displays the name of the user with a welcoming gesture and a total of four sections. The three main sections are dedicated to the most frequently used video calling applications: Google Meet, Zoom, and Skype. The fourth section contains a fun educational quiz in which the user can test their knowledge on what they have learned from each calling application. For example, when the user clicks on Zoom, they will be directed to a screen that displays six categories: “Login,” “Start Meeting,” “Share Meeting,” “Join Meeting,” “Invite People,” and “Camera, Mic, Chat.” Each subsection explicitly shows how the user can utilize the respective functions. Above all, our team wanted to emphasize the clarity of our application and how it can essentially be used by anyone who is interested.
|[Image of the various categories of my calling application,
“Help Grandpa.” Photo courtesy of Sean Kang]
We ran into several challenges while programming our application: the hardest part was organizing the 28 different screens. More specifically, it was difficult to manage the entire button IDs (variables that indicate what the user clicks on) and the screen IDs (variables that indicate which part of the application they are on) so that they follow a consistent pattern and are distinct from one another.
After countless hours of coding and collaboration, our team created a demo video that gave a basic overview of the application and explanation of its functions. Submitting the application after two days of hard work, our team did not have high hopes as we thought that “Help Grandpa” was not as technologically advanced as other applications we had seen. However, much to our surprise, our team was chosen as the Best Overall Application.
Overall, I gained many valuable lessons from this competition. One of the most crucial things I learned was that coding is not that hard to learn. It is just a matter of accumulating experience and time to get used to the process of coding. Second, I realized that coding is just another outlet for expressing creativity. Finally, even though it was not easy, I learned that thinking outside the box is very important for one to be successful and stand out from the others. “Thinking outside of the box” not only helped us win first place, but also helped me fully express my creativity through coding for the first time.
Yongsan International School of Seoul
Sean Kang firstname.lastname@example.org
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