Creating apps for free with AppLab (secondary)

App Lab is a programming environment where you can make simple apps, online and for free which I am currently using with my Year 7 Digital Technology class. To begin, sign up as a teacher for a free account and then set up your class. You can set up your class using their name (first name plus initial of their last name) and ‘secret codes'(passwords), meaning you don’t need to provide any of your student’s personal information such as their email address.

Then, I set the Intro to App Lab Course and we completed this as a class. The tutorial itself teaches students to create and control buttons, text, images, sounds, and screens in JavaScript using either blocks or text. At the end of the tutorial students are given time to either extend a project they started building into a “Choose Your Own Adventure“, “Greeting Card”, or “Personality Quiz” app.  However, I opted for all of my students to create a “Choose Your Own Adventure“” game first as it enables them to become familiar with the design and code viewing platforms, it is an achievable app for all to create and they use block script rather than text.

Here are some student work samples (block code):
Freya’s app LINK 
Ashera’s app LINK
Chelsea’s app LINK

Then we moved onto something a little harder, text programming. The app I chose for students to create was “Wack an e-moji” game. This was a big jump from the first. What I found was, that many students were copying the code, not necessarily understanding and reading the code. So I recommend, that before you get students to create this game you set the following two courses for them first: (1) Computer Science Principles CPS Building Apps and (2) The Design Process. Even though I did things in the wrong order (ie. not completing the two courses above before Wack an e-moji) students still had success (don’t make the same mistake as me 😉 ).

Here are some student work samples (text code):
Elizabeth’s app LINK
Indyanna’s app LINK
Kira’s app  LINK

I also created some assessment rubrics. Please note, they are a work in progress, however you can download them below:

App Lab Assessment Rubrics JVillis-1egge2d

My next step for for students to create their own digital solution (app) for a particular purpose. I’ll post this once I’ve trialed this in class.


  1. Thanks for sharing this app. My year 8 students in Australia were keen to design apps but I didn’t know what tool to use or how to go about it. Your information has been most helpful including the types of apps they might start with.

  2. I’m in Australia too 🙂 I ran into a little trouble allowing students to share their apps but I found a way around it. In Australia we can only share the apps via a URL, which is OK, an app simulated version. However, when you try and give access to students to share their apps this way in Australia it will not let you.

    Way around: Log into your teaching account, go to your class, select your class projects (you can view all of your students’ apps here), then select their app, select remix, then share. You, as a teacher can then copy and paste the URL you provided with and share it with your students.

    If this doesn’t make sense and you get stuck, let me know and I can create a video tutorial for you.

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