Students develop health apps in national competition

AMMAN — The award ceremony of the ninth cycle of the “App Challenge” competition was held on Saturday, honoring three young teams of game developers from various regions, said Nour Khrais, technical managing partner at the Jordan Gaming Lab and CEO of Maysalward.

“The competition, which was established in 2011, aims at enhancing the capacities of youth between 14 and 16 years old in the field of games and applications development”, Khrais told The Jordan Times over the phone, noting that this year’s edition is focused on the theme of health.

“We visit schools around the Kingdom and hold an orientation day for them, in order to introduce them to technology in general, and how to do develop a story,” he said, adding “after this first day, we test them to assess which ones are the most appropriate to take part in the competition”.

The App Challenge is supported by the King Abdullah Fund for Development (KAFD), which has given JD50 for each team as an initial budget to market their project.

“Some teams might not have the potential to finance the project they envision,” Khrais said, noting that the grant allows fairness between all teams.

Amani Naser Al Deen, a supervisor of the Irbid’s King Abdullah Schools for Excellence’s (KASE) team, said that they are one of the eight schools in the governorate participating in the competition, which gathered participants from 48 schools.

“We had a team of four students and I. Some went to a five-day programming workshop, while the others attended a designing workshop,” she explained.

“After searching for games in the App Store and the Play Store, we found out that there is no application or game about osteoporosis,” she stated.

After asking various orthopedics physicians about the causes of the disease, the team chose to display a skeleton as their game’s main character. 

“The player gets to choose the food and beverages that will have a positive impact on the skeleton’s bones, and ditch the ones that might be harmful to their development,” Deen explained.

She said that the competition did not only teach students about programming but also about teamwork and time management.

Presenting his KASE Zarqa’s team’s game “Immunity Frontline”, team supervisor Khalid Jaafar said that their app is divided into three components: lungs, heart, and brain.

Jaafar, who is a teacher at the school, explained that the game focuses on selecting beneficial intakes for the lungs and the heart while avoiding harmful ones.

“The brain component of the game aims to enhance neurological skills to solve brain games,” he said, adding that the competition helped enhance the students’ personalities.

KASE Tafileh won the first place for the southern region, under the supervision of Adeem Bardeen, who lead a team consists of three female students.

Their game aims at studying certain human organs, namely the heart and the lungs.

“The player has three ‘souls’ in the game where he/she has to choose what is benefitting and harming him/her, in a 45-second timeframe,” she explained.

Khrais said that $5,000 will be distributed for each winning team to build a mini-lab in their own schools, where they will be able to transfer the knowledge they acquired to their fellow students.

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