Teachers at appathonThe New Era of Digital Learning was fully on display in London early this week, when educators became developers for 24 hours in the first-ever Windows 8 App-a-thon at the British Education Technology & Training (BETT) Show.  On Monday, January 28th and Tuesday, January 29th, 21 Partners in Learning Innovative Teachers from Europe were invited to turn their idea for a Windows 8 Education App into reality, and the results were phenomenal.

For background, last October Microsoft invited 53 teachers from across Europe to participate in Virtual Universities led by Peli de Halleux from Microsoft Research in October. The purpose was to build apps for educators on the Windows 8 platform using Touch Develop. Educators submitted a mock design in December, and 21 were then selected to attend BETT as participants in the 24-hour App-a-thon, where they would have the chance to develop their apps even further with the help of experts.

The submissions varied from math apps to classroom management apps, and were selected based on innovation and their likelihood of being published and used. Once the 24-hour app-a-thon concluded, each educator presented their app to the judges. I’m thrilled to announce the three winners of the very first Windows 8 App-a-thon:

• Winner: Evgen Moturnak, Ukraine. Evgen built an app titled, “Electrical Scheme Constructor.” This app demonstrates how to conduct electricity, and students build their own virtual circuit.

• People’s Choice: Olesksii and Oleksandr Tebenko, Ukraine. Olesksii and Oleksandr built “Matches,” an app that helps students develop increased logic abilities.

• Best Concept: Tommy Maher, Ireland. Tommy developed “Digital Age Snapshot/Wider World.” Tommy’s App supports an enquiry-based approach to Irish history, which is consistent with the curricular approaches taken in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and the UK. He involved multiple schools and teachers across Ireland to help commemorate Irish Independence.

Congratulations to the winners!

Are you interested in learning how to develop apps for Windows 8? Click here and you too can learn how to design, code and publish your very own app to the Windows Store.

-Anthony