Our 3rd year journey(ACF Monthly App Challenge)

Keep growing and keep building global applied computing community 🙌

Who we are:

As ACF MAC members go to alumni team, our current team and commitment still heavily hinges on our mission to provide a platform and to reach out to as many students and adults as possible(especially from underrepresented groups in STEM from various parts of the world), to apply their theoretical coding knowledge in building real-world applications and to also get certified and prized for their good work.

Our Monthly App Challenge (MAC) Team mainly consists of a group of high schoolers who connected through our passion for coding to provide a platform for everyone which includes both adults and kids where they can refine their coding skills and apply their coding knowledge to real-world applications. As technology becomes an integral part of the development of the world, we want to make sure that there is a space for people who are interested in the tech world to come together and grow. Our MAC Workshops were created to provide opportunities to a global audience no matter their background to make sure that everyone can pursue their passion successfully.

Workshops:

The teaching sessions, known as workshops, last an hour and take place every Saturday from 11am to 12pm PST. We developed this workshop to share our coding knowledge with people from all over the world. We have a new theme that goes with our apps every month, and we also creatively make a video and slide with the theme. We rotate who makes the video and slides each time so that everyone has the opportunity to make them. This will help everyone in the future and prevent us from being overly dependent on a single individual. We also update our websites and create amazing youtube promotion videos using the existing theme.

Global MACathon : Time to Celebrate with global MAC enthusiasts

Global MACathon was a great idea we came up with last year, where we decided to mimic a hackathon, but intertwine our goals through it. While there are creative aspects to our regular monthly challenges, we wanted to see what our audience was capable of and wanted to create. We allowed more freedom by taking away our limitation of creating a web app or sticking to a provided theme and asked for some sort of visual element as if they were promoting their own monthly app challenge. The MACathon didn’t bring as much of a large audience, but people were able to try out the skills they learned from our previous workshops and show us something we wouldn’t have thought of. It was a great opportunity to try something new and from it, we learned what to improve on if we ever choose to try a similar event again.

Achievements:

We recently won the reputed Think Fund (powered by Mitchell Park Teen Services) for our outstanding efforts in making a positive difference in the world, one app at a time! We are really excited about this win as their support would positively affect us, speed up our growth and also the actualization of the Monthly App Challenge Vision. In addition to that, during the past year we have reached out to a larger audience of people, than the year before(which signifies our growth). We positively impacted the knowledge growth of the majority of them,also certifying their good work to keep them excited and eager to show up for more of our workshops.

Challenges:

Previously we had the challenge of retention,we carried out a Feasibility study to determine the best possible solution to the problem and came up with different strategies, which has been working. Another challenge we’re currently solving is the issue of inadequate coaches to lecture and this is due to the current tight schedule of Highschool teenagers in the Palo Alto community, we have recently set out application posts to recruit new hands to join us.

Outreach:

We’ve always used social media as a tool to meet people, but we can’t say it was simple to find the ideal group of individuals for our workshop. But since we first started, we have been able to connect with a sizable number of people thanks to our strategies, persistent effort, and experience. We will continue to broaden our influence as we develop into a larger community and attract more participants to our MAC sessions.

Future Plans:

We are planning to expand the program to other parts of the world as well. Because most of the current team members are based in Silicon Valley, participants who come from Asia, Africa, and other parts of the world have a harder time managing their time. We are continuously planning and testing new programs, rewards, and others to raise the retention rate of participants, hoping they would join the team, and create a local MAC team based on their area and time zone. We are also experimenting with languages other than Javascript. In our June 2021 challenge, we tried building a simple game with Unity. In the future, we might create other projects with different languages or different topics, such as Unity, Python, AI, 3D, and beyond, bringing out skills to test and see what we are capable of building. SO JOIN US IF YOU WANT TO BUILD THIS AWESOME GLOBAL CODING COMMUNITY TOGETHER ➡️ https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSe1D9CyFZUSFZfqMFCuD9OfAUt9fwbYVy_7btZaQHobj7dd1w/viewform

Proud Monthly Winners and certificates:

Fundamental Winner Certification Award.

Level 1 Participation Certificate.

App Submission participation Certificate.

Workshop in Session.

Reflections:

Sachi: I really enjoy being part of the MAC team. I’ve learned many important life skills. I’ve learned how to teach in a way that would make my lectures interesting, create the newsletter for MAC, create a teaching plan, among many. I also really enjoy how I feel like I’m helping many people. Being useful to other people and sharing what I know about coding so that other people can create their own unique websites is very fun for me. I also like how, if someone asks me a hard question, we all look it up and try to solve the problem together. They’re teaching me new things, too, not just me teaching them. I hope to learn more about the languages I’m teaching so that if someone wants to learn more advanced parts, I can answer and open up their interests in the languages.

Dennis: The MAC program has undergone some major changes in the past year since we made our initial team blog in 2021. We’ve introduced new languages such as Python, redesigned our Zoom workshop layout, and also brought along new team members to help deliver our mission to the entire world. At the same time, however, we’ve had to deal with issues such as low participation, past team members moving on, and other challenges. Even with this, our team has been able to persevere and try our best. I think that this is a clear representation of how our team works and how, despite any setbacks, we always give it our full effort and hope for the best. Personally, I’ve really enjoyed being part of the MAC community since it has allowed me to meet a lot of great people, both part of the team and individual students attending our workshops. While teaching and organizing these workshops, I was also able to learn so many more new things about programming and teamwork which is also very important. Overall, this has been a very positive experience ever since I joined the team, and am looking forward to the future.

Enzo: Even though I’m one of the newest members of the team, I’ve seen how we’ve solved problems and overcome challenges. For example, when I first joined many core members of the team were leaving, leaving only four members. Despite this, we still managed to continue the meetings and find a new member. This year, we also implemented python which got a lot of new members interested and helped member turnout. Overall, I really enjoy being part of the MAC community, especially making videos and slides and I wish to continue doing this in the future.

Chris: I am probably the newest member here, but I’ve really enjoyed working with the MAC team in the short two to three months that I’ve been here. I really appreciate the MAC team for giving me and trusting me with such an opportunity to teach a Python workshop on my own, as well as Enzo helping me with the lesson plans and teaching for me when I am not available. However, the challenge that comes with this opportunity is also very apparent, from the workshop being in midnight for the time zone I’m in, to the VPN problems posed by my host country, and even hardware problems like microphone malfunctioning. Indeed, I should work to be more organized in the future to deliver workshops with higher quality. Last but not least, I would like to congratulate and thank all the team members for the exemplary job they have done to contribute to the team. I’m looking forward to future workshops and maybe bringing Python sessions back when our agenda is more free.

Abraham: It’s impossible to completely imagine the chances that ACF offers to programmers, and I now realize that becoming a part of this community was one of my greatest choices . I accepted the position of Social Media Manager/Marketer because I was eager to make a substantial contribution to the community’s development and to the realization of its mission. So far, it’s been a wonderful and exciting experience that has taught me a lot and allowed me to meet some incredible teammates. I want to spend as much time as I can with this wonderful community. I pledge to develop, prosper, and contribute my fair share to the expansion and accomplishment of the community’s vision.

Yoonjung: As for me, to witness how independently this new MAC team has grown with trials and errors and performing solidly is the greatest joy. I was a little apprehensive at first but deep down I knew this new MAC team would pull it off based on their diligent effort and passion for MAC. In addition, it was quite amazing for retiring members to put their best effort for the new member training and mentoring to ensure they became successful MAC members and part of the applied computing community builders through weekly MAC workshops. Another stupendous year and so proud of this new MAC team. We are becoming “the force to be reckoned with” or not yet but definitely getting noticed increasingly all thanks to your awesome ACF startup team work 🙌

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