How My Daughter Won a PowerApps Contest With a Fidget Spinner

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Hi all

<TD: DR>My daughter, with no coding experience, won a contest put by the PowerApps team and we recorded a video on how she did it which you can find below</TD: DR>

This little story starts with a tweet, put out by Audrie Gordon, who on August 7, asked the PowerApps community to make a fidget spinner.

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As it happened, I had been teaching PowerApps to my 18 year-old daughter, Ashlee, for a couple of weeks prior to this. Now, Ash has always been good at mathematics and it was her favourite subject at school, but aside from that she has never coded anything in her life, never showed any interest in it, and is currently in her first year of a Psychology degree. Being a biased dad, I always suspected that she had a mind for coding. In saying this however, even I underestimated her progress. To put it bluntly, her speed at picking up PowerApps, Flow and WebServices has been nothing short of phenomenal. I previously uploaded a video about one of her apps that we built together, but with this new challenge, I had absolutely no idea how to do it myself.

It was around 10pm my time (GMT+8) when I showed Audrie’s tweet to Ashlee, who took a look at the video and promptly announced “I can do it better…”

So the challenge was on, and Ashlee spent the next 90 minutes writing her basic solution. As a parent and IT professional it was fun to watch as she went through the typical trials and tribulations of writing code, except I was hearing it through someone who a) was only 18 and b) had never coded before and did not know the terminology. I wish I had recorded the audio to be honest Smile

Then came the breakthrough moment, where she danced a little “I am awesome” jig like real developers are prone to do when their code works. She got the base concept working, which I tweeted out so she could claims dibs on the prize. But Ash was not done, and spent an additional couple of hours making the fidget spinner look authentic in pretty pink as shown in the animated GIF below…

Spinner

By this time it was close to 1am, so she tweeted her solution and went to bed. Next morning we were pleasantly surprised. She won the contest!

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But that was not all, she impressed not only the community but various Microsoft people including Darshan Desai – Group Program Manager for PowerApps who commented that not many in the PowerApps team could have come up with this solution….

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Now Ashlee and I recorded a video yesterday where she took me through the solution step-by-step. If you want to learn some neat PowerApps tricks, brush up on your trigonometry and watch my awful math get exposed, then here it is in all its glory Smile

Here are some of the other tweets she received. So you still think I am a biased dad? Smile

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I feel the PowerApps team should also be proud that a teenager was able to build an app on their platform so quickly. In fact, many kids could benefit from learning PowerApps and perhaps Microsoft should look at its utility in schools.

Thanks for reading

Paul Culmsee

 

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