Request: Expert to talk to some kids, and beta testers, please?

Friends,
My 5th-6th grade FLL team (FIRST LEGO League - but this is not the Lego part) is developing an app in Thunkable. One thing that FLL values is interactions with experts*. Would some kind Thunker with experience publishing apps be willing to spend about 15-30 minutes on Zoom with the kids, sharing how you use Thunkable, talking with the kids about their app, and perhaps offering some feedback/suggestions?

*very broadly defined

Thank you!

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This is super cool! 1 question. Are they using Bluetooth?

Nope. Their app doesn’t involve an EV3 at all. FLL includes programming the EV3 robot to do missions, but ALSO includes an innovation project: kids need to identify a problem related to the year’s theme (which is exercise) and invent a solution. For their innovation project, my team is working on a game that has players doing exercises to progress through the story. They’re really excited about using Thunkable to get their app onto phones to help the kids around them get more exercise.

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Friends,

The 5th/6th graders I coach just got nominated for the FIRST Global Innovation Award. They’re one of four teams in the Virginia/DC region to get nominated, and they’re now competing with about 150-200 teams worldwide for 20 finalist spots.

Their innovation project is an app built in Thunkable. It’s sort of a mash-up between a Choose Your Own Adventure story and Ring Fit, and is meant to encourage people to get up and move! If you’re willing to offer feedback on the current version, here are links:

TestFlight: Join the Exquest beta - TestFlight - Apple

Android users: Here’s the app on the Google Play store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.gmail.smsfiercefoxes.exercise (what’s currently up is the version @tatiang so kindly reviewed, but we uploaded a new version today with some of the issues he identified fixed, so that’ll be available soon.)

Web (no sensors, so non-ideal): https://thunkable.site/w/QANwmBo1T

Feedback in the form of a forum reply would be lovely. Constructive criticism much appreciated!

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HI @catsarisky I’m happy to help test your students’ app.

Quick initial impressions:

  1. I love the idea of combining a choose-your-own-adventure story with exercise. I didn’t really understand what I was doing from the app itself… without your explanation, I think I would have been confused.
  2. In the garden, when I raise my phone, it vibrates. But it never vibrates after I touch my toes for 30 seconds. This is on an iPhone 11. Also, if it were to work, I think it would be good to give audio cues during the 30 seconds. Maybe something like “10 seconds left.”
  3. There doesn’t seem to be a way to go back or start over once you’ve chosen a room. Edit: it looks like the “reset” button does that. That wasn’t clear to me. Maybe have an explanation of what that button does or call it something like “Restart App” or “Restart Game.” Also, it appears to only reset the activity (garden) and not the full app experience.
  4. The newline characters \n are appearing within label text. It’s possible to replace those with the newline block (see Newline (\n) in label text is broken · Issue #852 · thunkable/thunkable-issues · GitHub).
  5. The icon is really hard to see. At larger size, it’s very cool but at icon size it’s hard to decipher.
  6. Is there going to be an intro/help screen with an explanation of why the app was made and how to use it? Maybe just making the current “info” screen appear first?
  7. The high knees activity in the Balcony also didn’t seem to respond. I find it confusing that the “Do the exercise!” button is greyed out. It makes me think that screen is not working. I assume those buttons are for tapping after you do the exercise? If so, they could be named something like “Record your activity” or “Mark as done.”
  8. Sound effects or music would be a welcome addition.
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Oh bah. The Apple App Store just rejected it for minimal content or features.

Thank you so much, @tatiang ! I’m looking forward to sharing this feedback with the kids tomorrow!

You’re welcome. I’m happy to Zoom with your students, too. Just know that I’m not a full-time developer and I’ve only made one published app with Thunkable (and a few before that with another drag-and-drop tool). My perspective is more that of a teacher than a developer. But I teach app design to 7th and 8th graders so your students might be interested to hear about that.

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I hope you don’t mind me being critical – and I’m well aware of how much time and effort it takes kids at this age to make something like you shared – but the app feels like a very short experience. Like I might use it for three minutes and then… it’s kind of over.

The idea is really strong. It just needs a lot more content and a few fixes to make it work properly. I think it’s a fantastic prototype! And I’m not surprised that Apple didn’t approve it.

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Oh heavens, please don’t worry about being critical, @tatiang . This feedback is super useful and absolutely constructive, and I’m grateful to you for taking the time to type it. It’s exactly what the kids need. It’s going to make a great jumping off point for tomorrow’s meeting - I suspect some of these problems you’ve identified are exactly the reasons the app store rejected!

The kids have an entire program that reads spreadsheet data and builds pages that require exercise, but they ran out of steam before writing more content (which just requires typing text into that spreadsheet). Adding more content requires no more code – it just requires some kid to actually do the work of writing it. Like with every team of kids I’ve coached, sometimes there’s a job that no one wants to do and everyone wants done. They’ve been avoiding it for weeks! (Which completely baffles me - how is creative writing not fun?)

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I think that’s sometimes the hardest part about teaching. Kids get an idea, get so excited, work furiously to finish 80% of it and then you’re like “Alright, we just need to do X and Y” and… the project stalls.

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I think that’s sometimes the hardest part about teaching. Kids get an idea, get so excited, work furiously to finish 80% of it and then you’re like “Alright, we just need to do X and Y” and… the project stalls.

Amen to that.